Exclusive: Christie's low burn-rate gives him runway to New Hampshire
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is entering the final months of the GOP presidential campaign with no debt and $3.9 million cash on hand, his campaign told Axios Sunday.
Why it matters: With a small team and a thrifty campaign, Christie likely has enough money to make it to the New Hampshire primary, where he has staked his candidacy.
- "If I don't do well in New Hampshire, then I'll leave," Christie told the New York Times last month.
By the numbers: Christie raised $3.8 million in the third quarter, with $2.3 million of that haul added to his cash on hand.
- Christie's campaign said all of that money is designated for the primary campaign.
- Some of Christie's rivals, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, have raised money that they can only use in the general election.
Between the lines: The $3.9 million total does not include money that Christie's affiliated super PAC may have, which can spend on advertising.
- Christie's Tell It Like it Is PAC had $5.5 million cash on hand entering July, the last reporting period.
Zoom in: The Christie campaign has stayed lean, involving only about 15 people who often take on multiple roles.
- Top campaign aide Maria Comella has at times assumed the role of driver, taking the wheel of the rental car to shuttle the candidate to events.
- The campaign has no physical headquarters, with staff working remotely or on the road — often in New Hampshire.
- The campaign says it hasn't spent money on TV ads or internal polling, and Christie has relied on earned media with hundred of interviews.
What to watch: The campaign told Axios they are very confident he will qualify for the third presidential debate in November, as he appears to have already passed the polling threshold.
- "Our cash on hand and low burn shows just how serious we are taking this and how dedicated we are to doing this the right way," a Christie spokesperson said.
Zoom out: Christie has a lower burn rate than many of his rivals, but he still is entering the final stretch of the primary campaign at a money disadvantage.
- Former President Trump reported having $37.5 million cash-on-hand entering October. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's team said it has $9.1 million, while DeSantis' campaign said it has $5 million.
- DeSantis also has a well-funded super PAC handling many of the normal campaign operations.
Christie is in a better financial situation than Pence, however.
- Pence has over $600,000 in debt and potentially less than $1 million cash on hand for the primary, NBC News reported Saturday.
Flashback: Christie, who mounted an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2016, had just $1.4 million cash on hand at the end of the third quarter in 2015, four months after he launched his bid.
- Much of Christie's 2024 team was on that campaign and feels they learned to be smarter with campaign cash.
- He dropped out of the 2016 race in February after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary.