Election 2024: Chris Christie suspends campaign for president

WINDHAM, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign.

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“My goal has never been to be just a voice against the hate and division and the selfishness of what our party has become under Donald Trump,” Christie said at a town hall in Windham, New Hampshire.

“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, which is why I’m suspending my campaign tonight for president of the United States.”

Christie, 61, had been under pressure to exit the Republican presidential race. Critics of former President Donald Trump are working to unify behind a viable alternative, The Associated Press reported.

Christie’s announcement comes less than a week before the Iowa caucuses, which is scheduled for Jan. 15; and the New Hampshire primary, scheduled for Jan. 23.

Christie has been a vocal critic of Trump as candidates jockeyed for position in the GOP race. Trump remains the frontrunner; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley remain the only contenders close to Trump in recent polling. Haley has apparently narrowed the gap between herself and the former president in New Hampshire, with some polls showing a single-digit deficit between her and Trump. Trump was at 39% in polling while Haley pulled in 32%, The Washington Post reported. Christie had managed only 12%, according to the poll.

DeSantis and Haley were scheduled to debate on Wednesday night. This fifth debate among Republicans is the only one that Christie has not qualified for, according to the AP.

It was unclear whether Christie would endorse another candidate, CNN reported.

“Chris Christie has been a friend for many years,” Haley said in a statement that was also posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “I commend him on a hard-fought campaign. Voters have a clear choice in this election: the chaos and drama of the past or a new generation of conservative leadership. I will fight to earn every vote, so together we can build a strong and proud America.”

Despite ending his presidential campaign, Christie’s name will remain on the ballot for the New Hampshire primary, CNN reported.

“Even though I am suspending this campaign, I am not going away,” Christie said.

While suspending his campaign, Christie had several criticisms of DeSantis and Haley, while not mentioning them by name.

“Anyone who is unwilling to say (Trump) is unfit to be president of the United States is unfit themselves to be president of the United States,” he said.

Christie also warned about a potential Trump presidency.

“I have known him well for 22 years,” Christie said. “And I can promise you this. If you put him back behind the desk in the Oval Office, and the decision is needed to be made as to whether he puts himself first or he puts you first ... he will pick himself.”

In a statement, Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who has endorsed Haley in the race, said that Christie “ran a hard-fought campaign and is coming to this decision at a critical time,” The New York Times reported.

“Defeating Donald Trump requires a consolidated field and Nikki Haley has the momentum to do so,” Sununu said.

Earlier Wednesday, Christie was caught on a hot mic on his campaign’s livestream before the town hall, talking about Haley and DeSantis, the Times reported.

“She is going to get smoked, and you and I both know it,” Christie said, apparently referring to Haley, adding that she spent “$68 million, just on TV, spent $68 million so far.”

“Fifty-nine million by DeSantis, and we spent 12. I mean, who’s punching above their weight, and who’s getting a return on their investment?”

Christie then alleged that “DeSantis called me, petrified.”

The video stream was taken down moments later, according to the newspaper.

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