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Christie suspends campaign, predicts Haley will ‘get smoked’

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Annamarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin
January 10, 2024

Less than 24 hours after he said he wasn’t ready to drop his presidential bid, Chris Christie announced Wednesday in Windham that he’s “suspending” his campaign. He did not endorse another candidate for the Republican nomination, instead questioning the integrity of all of them and criticizing Nikki Haley in particular.

In what sounded like a hot mic moment ahead of his planned remarks in Windham, Christie was heard on his campaign’s video feed predicting Haley would fail to win the nomination.

“Who’s punching above their weight and who’s getting a return on their investment?” Christie was heard saying to an unidentified person, noting that Haley’s campaign had outspent him by tens of millions of dollars. “And she’s going to get smoked, and you and I both know it.”

Later, he told the audience that he knew the Civil War was about slavery, a dig at Haley who cited a different cause during a town hall event in Berlin two weeks ago.

“I think the cause of the civil war was basically how the government was going to run,” she said. “The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.” She asked the voter who’d posed the question what he thought the cause was.

“I’m not running for president,” he said.

Christie had faced mounting pressure to leave the race with Haley, the candidate perceived most likely to pick up his supporters, rising in the polls.

Tuesday, a University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll showed Haley just seven points behind former President Donald Trump, “within striking distance,” it said. Two-thirds of undeclared voters who named Christie as their first choice said they’d back Haley if he dropped out.

Among those calling on Christie to leave the race was Gov. Chris Sununu, who endorsed Haley in mid-December. Shortly after Christie’s announcement, Sununu released a statement: “Chris ran a hard-fought campaign and is coming to this decision at a critical time,” it said. “Defeating Donald Trump requires a consolidated field and Nikki Haley has the momentum to do so.”

In remarks that ran nearly an hour, Christie said he would continue to make his case against Trump, but not as a presidential candidate.

“My goal has never been to be just a voice against the hate and the division and the selfishness of what our party has become under Donald Trump,” Christie said during remarks that ran nearly an hour. “It’s also been to win the nomination and defeat Joe Biden and restore our party and our country to a new place of hope and optimism.”

Christie went on to say, “I’ve always said that if there came a point in time in this race where I couldn’t see a path to accomplishing that goal, that I would get out. And it’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination.”

Following Christie’s announcement, Haley wrote on X, “Chris Christie has been a friend for many years. I commend him on a hard-fought campaign.”

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: info@newhampshirebulletin.com. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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