DemDaily: Christie Concedes Presidential Primary

January 11, 2024

The anticipation leading up to the Fifth Republican Debate between former South Carolina Governor and Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last night was eclipsed by the announcement of former Governor Chris Christie that he was suspending his campaign.

Christie, speaking before a crowd of supporters in Windham, New Hampshire, ended his long shot-campaign just hours before the debate saying, “It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination.”

One of Trump's most high profile critics, Christie made it clear from the onset of his campaign that his mission was to take on Trump, attacking him in debates and deriding his opponents for kowtowing to the former president. “No one will tell the truth about Donald Trump,” he said. “No one will tell the truth about his divisiveness, his stoking of anger for his own benefit...I’ve known him for 22 years. I have an obligation to go out there and tell the truth about him."

"I am going to make sure that in no way do I ever enable Donald Trump to ever be President of the United States again. And that's more important than my own personal ambition." -- former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Christie, who was one of the first governors to endorse Trump in the 2016 primaries, was a close advisor and friend of two decades.

However, he turned on Trump after the January insurrection at the Capitol, blaming the devastating assault on Trump and his "big lie" that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Christie became an increasingly vocal foe of the former president and publicly called on him to concede the election to Joe Biden in 2020.

Christie's exit is expected to benefit Haley, as both were targeting the anti-Trump vote and were performing well among the same more moderate independent voters in New Hampshire polls.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) endorsed Haley in December and state Republicans waged a heavy pressure campaign to get Christie out of the race before the January 23 primary.

Christie, however, was caught on a hot mic moment before the event Wednesday, criticizing Haley saying, "She’s going to get smoked -- you and I both know it. She’s not up to this."

He also referred to a previous conversation with DeSantis, saying the Florida Governor was "petrified at the idea that he [Christie] could leave the race" as it would open up votes likely to go to Haley.

Christie did not endorse a candidate Wednesday. but speculation is that he is holding off until after the Iowa caucuses Monday before he makes any announcement in order to make a greater impact leading into the New Hampshire primary.

Tomorrow: The Debate Fallout and The Race for Second Place

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Tonight's Showdown! The Fifth Republican Debate 1/10/23
DemDaily: The 2024 Presidential Primary Calendar! 1/4/23
DemDaily: The GOP Primary: A Snapshot 12/12/23
DemDaily: Countdown to Iowa. The Fourth Debate 12/8/23
DemDaily: The Dwindling GOP Field 12/5/23
DemDaily: New Hampshire First? 11/17/23
DemDaily: The Race for Second Place. The Third GOP Debate 11/10/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Politico, CBS, CNN, Vox, New York Times

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