Chris Christie suspends 2024 presidential campaign
Why it matters: Christie was one of just a few Republican hopefuls who repeatedly criticized former President Trump during his campaign, and he often said that his raison d'être was to prevent a Trump presidency.
- Christie's departure just days before the Iowa caucuses creates a possible opening in New Hampshire for former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley. The two have been vying to secure the votes of establishment anti-Trump voters and independents in the Granite State.
Driving the news: "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," Christie said during a New Hampshire town hall.
- Christie promised that he would make sure that he would never "enable Donald Trump to ever be President of the United States again," adding: "That's more important than my own personal ambition."
Between the lines: Christie was caught on a hot mic before the town hall, appearing to be candidly discussing the chances of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 race.
- "She's going to get smoked, and you and I both know it," Christie said of Haley. "She's not up to this."
- Christie could also be heard saying that a "petrified" DeSantis called him.
Zoom in: Christie during his Wednesday announcement called out by name some of his Republican colleagues for whom "cowardice" and "ambition" have "outstripped their otherwise good judgment."
- "They know better, I know they know better," Christie said, referring to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).
- "I would rather lose by telling the truth, than lie in order to win," Christie said.
- "And I feel no differently today, because this is a fight for the soul of our party and the soul of our country."
The big picture: Christie, who filed paperwork to launch his presidential campaign in June, staked much of his presidential ambitions in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state.
- Christie repeatedly took on Trump during the four debates he attended, despite Trump not showing up, and he criticized his GOP opponents for not standing up to the former president.
- "I am the cavalry," Christie said in November. "That's the biggest reason I got in the race. ... I was like, no one's gonna take him on."
- Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Christie started to face calls to suspend his campaign from anti-Trump Republicans who feared that his establishment appeal could take votes from former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
Zoom in: He averaged in the low single-digits in national primary polls and about 12% in New Hampshire state polls, putting him at about third in the state, according to FiveThirtyEight.
- Representatives for Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Tom Emmer did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.