Finishing sixth place in last night’s Republican New Hampshire Primary, Governor Chris Christie announced today that he is suspending his presidential campaign. Christie had campaigned hard in the Granite State, holding 76 town-hall-style meetings there since announcing his candidacy in June. The governor garnered 7.4 percent of the vote compared to 35.3 percent for front-runner billionaire Donald Trump, 15.8 percent for Ohio Governor John Kasich and 11.7 percent for US Senator Ted Cruz (Texas). Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and US Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) also outperformed Christie.
According to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, the governor had put a lot of time and effort in New Hampshire, but John Kasich actually surpassed Christie in the number of town hall meetings. “More importantly, both Kasich and Jeb Bush had more resources to get out the vote in terms of the number of phone calls made and doors knocked in the state,” Murray said.
“The governor did not have the kind of staff to conduct that type of voter contact [operation] that is crucial in New Hampshire,” Murray told New Jersey Business magazine. “A lot of this has to do with how many campaign offices you have in a state and how many people you have on the phones at any given time. That is key.”
The other thing that harmed Christie, according to Murray, is that “Donald trump stole quite a bit of the governor’s thunder.” Additionally, there was skepticism among New Hampshire voters regarding Christie’s conservative credentials. “This all goes back to the ‘Obama hug’ during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” Murray said. By the same token, the governor did receive the endorsement of the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, which is considered a conservative publication.
As soon as Christie started rising in the polls, his opponents saw him as a threat and started attacking him on his perceived lack of conservative credentials, particularly Marco Rubio, “which is why the governor relished going after the Florida Senator during last Saturday night’s debate,” Murray said.
Christie’s attack on Rubio did hurt the latter’s performance in New Hampshire, but this did not translate in a better performance by the governor among voters. Instead, it provided an opening for Kasich and Bush. A week prior to the New Hampshire Primary, Christie tied for ninth place in the Iowa Caucus, receiving 1.8 percent of the vote.
Murray said it is a wise move for Christie to suspend his campaign. “It’s not just about being embarrassed now, if he still went on to South Caroline and Nevada. Christie still harbors ambitions for the presidency, and there could be an opening four or eight years from now. So, he can’t run as the guy who lost a series of primaries in 2016. He had to stop now,” Murray said.
Who will Christie endorse? “He has a lot of connections with Kasich, but there is also good reason for the governor to hold back on endorsing anyone at this stage because he is looking at his own political future and doesn’t want to get behind the wrong horse,” Murray explained.
One of the first things the governor has to do now in New Jersey, according to Murray, is “exert control over a Democratic Legislature that has been running roughshod.”
Governor Christie had formally announced his campaign for U.S. president in the gym of Livingston High School, his alma mater. During his June 30 speech, the governor kept emphasizing telling the truth, which was the theme of his campaign slogan: “Telling it like it is.” He also touched upon his desire to return the country to a place where parents could not only realize the American dream, but could be certain that their children would be able to realize the dream.Related Articles: