Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday, joining a growing Republican field led by former President Donald Trump. Christie, who served as an adviser to Trump’s successful 2016 campaign but has since become an outspoken critic for falsely claiming the 2020 election was rigged, filed paperwork announcing his candidacy. He is due to be announced to the White House later Tuesday at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Christie, 60, a former U.S. attorney, believes he is the only potential rival capable and willing to attack Trump directly.
However, so far, Christie has not fared well in the polls. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll in May, he had the support of just 1 percent of potential Republican primary voters, compared with Trump’s 49 percent and Florida Gov. Ron DeSanne’s Ron DeSantis had 19 percent.
Other Republicans seeking to challenge President Joe Biden include former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and U.S. Senator Tim Scott. Former Vice President Mike Pence will enter the race on Wednesday.
Christie ran for president in 2016 but ended her campaign after a disappointing New Hampshire primary and became the first major party figure to endorse Trump.
He has since urged Republicans to deny Trump’s claims about the 2020 election and told reporters he would not vote for Trump in 2024, even if Trump wins the nomination.
The tactic could appeal to Republican voters poised to overtake Trump, but it’s not clear any Republicans could win without the support of Trump’s still-loyal base.
As the underdog, Christie could end up playing the showrunner role, a position he found himself occupying in 2016 when he undercut U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in a debate days before Christie withdrew from the race. momentum.
Christie first became a national figure during his two terms as governor of Democratic-leaning New Jersey from 2009 to 2017, earning plaudits from admirers and accusations of bullying from critics for his confrontational approach to politics.
His tenure has been clouded by the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, in which two allies deliberately closed lanes of the heavily trafficked George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York City to punish the local mayor for failing to support Christie’s re-election.
Christie has said he was not aware of the plot at the time, but witnesses in the criminal trial against the two allies have testified that the governor knew about the lane closures.
Despite his early support for Trump, Christie lost the vice-presidential and attorney general races and was fired as head of Trump’s transition team just three days after the 2016 election. (Reporting by Joseph Akers, editing by Colleen Jenkins and Alistair Bell)