Pressure is intensifying on former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to withdraw from the GOP primary race, with prominent Republicans urging him to step aside in favor of candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
The call comes as some Republicans seek an alternative to former President Donald Trump, whose dominance looms over the 2024 field.
Christie, who has centered his campaign around criticizing Trump, faces challenges amid a crowded field and a focus on New Hampshire, complicating his prospects.
As the Iowa caucuses draw near, calls for Christie's exit are growing louder within the GOP. Sarah Matthews, a former Trump administration official supporting Haley, asserted, "I think he should absolutely drop out. There's just no path for him to win the nomination... all he's doing is helping Trump to secure the nomination because he's dividing the vote."
Christie, currently in third place in New Hampshire's RealClearPolitics polling average, trails further in Iowa and South Carolina. Despite this, he defended his candidacy on CNN's "State of the Union," stating, "I think we're showing great momentum in New Hampshire... let's let the campaign move forward."
Campaign adviser Mike DuHaime dismissed feedback about Christie dropping out, stating, "I just don't understand why we would get out for people who are also way behind Donald Trump, who also have certainly a difficult path, but even more importantly, are not willing to take on the guy who's in first place."
Some supporters find the calls premature, with former Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., stating, "If this were April or May, or April of next year, it'd be a different story."
Former Trump donor Roy Bailey, now supporting DeSantis, emphasized the importance of a "non-diluted primary" path for DeSantis, who "needs to get one-on-one with a former president."
Republican strategist Mike Dennehy, unaligned in the primary, noted Christie's lack of a "strong path forward" and suggested that Haley has a more national operation.
"I can see why people would call on him to withdraw … and I would tend to agree with those folks unless Chris Christie can detail a path forward — a successful path forward for him after New Hampshire," he said.
Trump maintains a dominant lead in GOP polls, sparking questions about the viability of any candidate challenging him. Despite concerns that it might be too late to challenge Trump, some argue against premature assumptions, with Republican strategist Whit Ayres stating, "An awful lot of people are acting as though they know the outcome of events that are going to be affected by things that haven't happened yet, and I think we've all been around this game long enough to have a little more humility than that."
Christie is set to attend the fourth Republican primary debate on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. E.T. Wednesday night, at the University of Alabama, with Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy also attending.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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