Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will enter the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination next week, according to a person with knowledge of his plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been announced publicly.
Christie’s planned campaign, first reported by Axios, would be his second for the presidency after he unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2016. That year, Christie dropped out of the race after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary. He swiftly endorsed Donald Trump, despite trading bitter attacks through the primary, and later was named the head of Trump’s transition team. However, Christie has since become one of Trump’s most vocal critics. During a recent town hall in New Hampshire, Christie called Trump “a failure on policy and a failure on character,” asserting that the front-runner in the GOP primary race is nothing more than a TV star.
“Everybody can be fooled once by a shuckster, by a TV star,” Christie said. “But if we allow ourselves to be fooled twice, we have no one to blame but ourselves. And let me promise you, if he is the nominee in 2024, Joe Biden will be the president in 2025.”
Christie, a former U.S. attorney who served as governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018, has been exploring a presidential bid for months, expressing his frustration that Trump’s current and potential Republican rivals – including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and former vice president Mike Pence – have largely avoided confronting Trump.
Longtime advisers to Christie have formed a super PAC, Tell It Like It Is, to support his expected presidential bid. The formation of the outside group is being led by Brian Jones, who was an adviser to John McCain’s and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, and is being chaired by Bill Palatucci, a Republican national committeeman from New Jersey and Christie confidant.
Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited funds but can’t directly coordinate expenditures with candidates, have become commonplace in GOP presidential primaries as operatives look for ways to marshal support from donors.
Christie and his allies have concluded that the only way to win the nomination is to directly take on Trump’s vulnerabilities by directly challenging him – forcing him to answer for the campaign pledges that he did not fulfill, according to people familiar with his thinking. Christie is eager to get on the debate stage to prosecute the case against those unfulfilled promises – including Trump’s pledge to repeal Obamacare and his vow to build a wall along 2,000 miles of the U.S. southern border and make Mexico pay for it. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe strategy.