Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, known as a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, officially withdrew from the 2024 U.S. presidential race on Wednesday.
During an event in New Hampshire, Christie announced his dropout and reiterated his opposition to Trump’s campaign in the presence of an audience of less than 100 voters. “I am going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be president of the United States again,” Christie said. Christie’s exit is seen as a potential boost to other Republican candidates. Political analysts suggest that former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could benefit, as she gains ground against Trump in New Hampshire polls. A recent poll indicated that without Christie in the race, Trump would lead Haley by a margin of 47 percent to 32 percent, according to U.S. media. However, Christie did not endorse any candidate upon his withdrawal. He was overheard on a hot mic stating that Haley is “going to get smoked,” at a New Hampshire gathering Wednesday. Christie also directly criticized Haley during his speech for failing to acknowledge slavery as a cause of the Civil War, an incident that sparked a huge backlash against her recently.
Despite this, Haley expressed admiration for Christie, sharing on X, formerly Twitter, “Chris Christie has been a friend for many years. I commend him on a hard-fought campaign.” Christie had consistently maintained that he intended to remain in the race at least until the New Hampshire primary in Jan. 23. He seemed poised to surpass his 2016 performance, where he finished in sixth place with only 7 percent of the vote. Supporters of Haley, such as New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and other Republicans opposed to Trump, had been encouraging Christie to withdraw from the race so that his supporters would back Haley and boost her odds against Trump. This shift could transform the Republican nomination race into a two-candidate contest between Haley, viewed as the party’s most moderate candidate, and Trump, currently holding a wide lead for the nomination, U.S. media said. The New Hampshire poll, where Christie was polling at 12 percent, indicated that approximately two-thirds of his supporters would choose Haley as their alternative preference.