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You will be forgiven for occasionally forgetting that the 2024 Republican Primary is more than just Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, but it’s true! There are other candidates!
Former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and others have already made it official. Trump was first out of the gate and DeSantis is the most recent one out.
But former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been making moves to prepare for a run, and after teasing it for months, it looks like he’s about to pull the trigger.
My colleague Bonchie mentioned yesterday that Christie’s team has been taking steps to hit the ground running. Bonchie referred to a Maggie Haberman report that noted a PAC is “being started to support Christie, with an announcement set for sometime in the next two weeks.”
A new report from Axios this morning is the first to set a firmer date, though. According to their sources, Christie will announce next Thursday.
Driving the news: Christie is expected to make the announcement at a town hall at Saint Anselm College at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Here’s what to expect from a Christie candidacy, per his team:
- Being joyful and hitting a more hopeful note aimed at America’s “exhausted majority.”
- Being authentic — a happy warrior who speaks his mind, takes risks and is happy to punch Donald Trump in the nose. Christie’s recent interviews and New Hampshire town halls aim to recapture the brio of his 2009 governor’s race.
- Running a national race — “a non-traditional campaign that is highly focused on earned media, mixing it up in the news cycle and engaging Trump,” an adviser said. “Will not be geographic dependent, but nimble.”
A lot of Bonchie’s commentary focuses on Christie’s rationale for getting into the race – and why that rationale is silly at best. But what, exactly, is Christie’s path to success here?
One of the arguments is that Christie can be a fighter and beat Trump by going toe-to-toe with him, which might be true, except Christie tried that seven years ago and failed so horribly he started working for Trump. And, sure, he talks a great anti-Trump game now, but there’s a difference between the red-meat-throwing, speak-your-mind stylings of Christie and the outright mud-slinging fight that is sparring with Trump. Christe lost that fight before and he’d lose again.
So what is a possible path for Christie? The evangelicals will be divided between Mike Pence (if he jumps in) and Tim Scott. Women will be more inclined to line up with Haley. The deep red base is split between Trump and DeSantis. There will be some folks who want something different and go with Ramaswamy.
That leaves very little space for Christie, who is relying on “earned national media.” But that strategy presents the same problems we’re seeing with a lot of polling in recent election cycles: the lack of state-specific data.
Imagine if all these phony university polls actually polled states with actual candidates, instead of fake national polls with obvious non-candidates.
— Neil Stevens (@presjpolk) May 30, 2023
That’s the big problem for Christie. Not trying to win state-by-state is a problem, and his plan is to run a national race. Christie doesn’t have a path to victory if he doesn’t have a state-by-state strategy. I don’t even see a path to a debate stage for Christie, much less to the White House.