DemDaily: GOP Field Tops Nine. Christie, Pence and Burgum announce

June 7, 2023

The 2024 GOP presidential field expanded this week, with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announcing their campaigns over the last 24 hours.

Chris Christie
Christie announced his candidacy last night in New Hampshire, in what appears to be a rebellious gambit focused less on winning the nomination than on taking former President Donald Trump down before a national audience.

A native of Newark, Christie graduated from the University of Delaware and Seton Hall University School of Law, before entering politics as a Morris County Freeholder in 1994. He was appointed US Attorney for New Jersey by George W. Bush, a position he held from 2002 to 2008.

In 2009, Christie unseated Democratic Governor Jon Corzine by 4%, and was easily re-elected in 2013, fending off a challenge by State Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D) by 22%.

His second term, however, was marred by multiple controversies, including "Bridgegate," in which Christie was allegedly behind forced highway lane closures causing traffic chaos in retribution against a local mayor for not endorsing Christie's reelection.

Christie briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, but dropped out after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, endorsing Donald Trump.

Once a close advisor of the former president, the bombastic Christie, a regular CNN contributor, emerged as one of Trump's most vocal critics after the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. At his announcement, he lambasted Trump as "a lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog" who is a danger to the country.

Christie will participate in a CNN Town Hall on Monday, June 12.

"There is one lane to the Republican nomination and [Trump's] in front of it. If you want to win, you better go right through him." -- Chris Christie

Mike Pence
Before a crowd of supporters in Des Moines, Iowa this afternoon, the former Vice president announced his candidacy saying, “Different times call for different leadership,” and promising “the best days of the greatest nation on earth are yet to come."

Born and raised in a Roman Catholic and Democratic household in Columbus, Indiana, Pence attended Hanover College, where he became an evangelical born-again Christian. After graduating from Indiana University School of Law in 1986, and losing two bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, he established himself as a conservative radio and TV pundit, hosting the syndicated The Mike Pence Show and other programs through the 90s.

In 2000 he won an open seat in Indiana's 2nd congressional district, serving for six terms before running for Governor of Indiana in 2012 -- beating Democratic nominee and former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg by less than 3%. He was tapped as Trump's vice presidential running mate in June 2016.

Although Pence brought credibility to the ticket with his governing record and evangelical bona fides, his contribution to the administration was minimal -- serving primarily in the shadows as a loyal deputy to President Trump.

It was not until Pence historically rebuked Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and became one of the targets of the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol, that the then-Vice President showed leadership. Little evidence of that has since existed, with Pence condemning Trump forcefully for the first time this afternoon.

In his announcement speech, Pence blasted Trump for his role in the US Capitol attack, saying, "anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States."

Pence will participate in a CNN town hall event tonight.

In a May 24 Monmouth poll of Republican voters, Christie had the highest unfavorable rating, 47%, among ten declared or potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates. Pence ranked second in the negative category, followed by Trump who had a mere 17% unfavorability.

Just an hour ahread of Pence, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum entered the Republican contest for president, saying, "We need a leader who understands the real work that Americans do every day -- someone who’s worked alongside our farmers or ranchers and our small-business owners. Someone who’s held jobs where you shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning."

Burgum, who graduated from from North Dakota State University and has an MBA from Stanford, amassed a fortune after his company, Great Plains Software, was acquired by Microsoft for $1.1 billion in 2001. He went on to found real estate development firm Kilbourne Group and co-found the venture capital firm Arthur Ventures.

Burgum ran for Governor in 2016, defeating the establishment favorite in the GOP primary, and winning the general election with nearly 77% of the vote. He was reelected in 2020 with 66% of the vote.

The Field
Christie, Pence and Burgum bring the count to nine declared candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination -- joining Trump, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative talk show host Larry Elder.

Out: On Monday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced he will not seek the GOP nomination, saying, "the stakes are too high for a crowded field to hand the nomination to a candidate who earns just 35% of the vote," referring to Trump's 2016 New Hampshire primary margin.

Sununu warned that Republicans jumping into the primary race should not do so to "further a vanity campaign" or try-out for Trump's vice president, adding that any GOP candidate who does not have a path to victory should exit the race by Christmas.

Related
DemDaily: The Expanding GOP Field. Tim Scott Enters Race 5/22/23
DemDaily: Biden: No One Left Behind 5/4/23
DemDaily: Biden Back In The Fight 4/25/23
DemDaily: GOP Files First Fundraising Numbers 4/18/23
DemDaily: Indictment Divides Expanding GOP Field 4/3/23
DemDaily: CPAC Kowtows to Trump 3/6/23
DemDaily: Red State, Blue State 2/27/23
DemDaily: The Contenders. The GOP Field Takes Shape 2/21/23

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Sources: AP, New York Times, CNN, CBS, ABC, Politico

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