Updated Jan 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Chris Christie suspends 2024 presidential campaign

Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prepares for the start of the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on December 6, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prepares for the start of the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Wednesday that he is suspending his 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.

Go deeper... "Cheapest S.O.B.": Flashback to Christie's many attacks on Trump

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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