Christie is expected to formally announce his bid for the nation’s highest office Tuesday during a 6:30 p.m. town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Though the state flat-out rejected him in 2016, when Christie last ran for president, it’s expected to play a central role in his 2024 strategy.
In a growing GOP primary field, Christie, 60, has sought to set himself apart from other Republican candidates by vocally criticizing the party’s frontrunner: former President Donald Trump.
“He undermined our democracy. And the only reason he undermined our democracy was because he was pissed,” Christie said of Trump’s repeated false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and attempts to overturn his loss. “He undermined our democracy because he was angry we didn’t reelect him.”
The former New Jersey governor has taken aim at other GOP candidates for failing to challenge Trump, likening the former president to the Harry Potter series villain Lord Voldemort, whose name is rarely spoken out of fear. Christie backed Trump in 2016 and 2020 but said he stopped supporting the former president when he started to claim the election had been stolen.
Despite his brash style of politics and willingness to take Trump to task, Christie enters the 2024 race behind other candidates, seeing no more than 3% support in any national poll of Republican voters to date.
Who is Chris Christie?
Before he was elected as New Jersey’s 55th governor, Christie was appointed U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey by former President George W. Bush. Serving in that role from 2002 to 2008, he earned a reputation for being tough on corruption.
Christie served two full terms as New Jersey’s governor before leaving office in 2018. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he graduated from both the University of Delaware and Seton Hall University School of Law.
Criminal justice reform, immigration: What are Christie’s views?
Christie is a Republican. It’s not yet clear which key issues the former governor will campaign on heading into 2024.
But in 2016, Christie called for criminal justice reform focused on community policing efforts and ex-offender rehabilitation, a stronger national defense and a secure border.
Has Christie run for president before?
Yes. Christie ran for president in 2016 unsuccessfully, dropping out of the race after coming in sixth in New Hampshire, an early primary state.
“I tried to reinforce what I have always believed − that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie said at the time.
Christie intends to focus much of his campaign on winning over New Hampshire voters, a tactic that could clear the path for Christie’s campaign in a crowded GOP field.
What is Christie’s 2024 pitch to voters?
In 2016, Christie’s campaign slogan was “Telling It Like It Is.” He’s diving into the 2024 race with a similar approach, pitching himself to voters as a no-nonsense, straight talking candidate who’s willing to stand up to Trump.
The former governor frequently bashes Trump in interviews and on social media, from taking aim at his “bravado” over his indictment in a New York hush money case to calling him “Putin’s Puppet.” Christie supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 but has said he withdrew his support after Trump began making false claims of election fraud following the 2020 race for the White House.
In 2014, while he was still New Jersey’s governor, Christie was implicated in a local scandal dubbed “Bridgegate.”
Aides once closed part of the state’s George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in a city led by a Democratic mayor who had opposed Christie. Christie denied authorizing the incident and fired aides who were involved.
The aides − Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and William Baroni, the former governor’s top political appointment at the Port Authority − were in 2016 convicted of fraud and conspiracy and faced prison sentences for helping to orchestrate the massive gridlock during portions of five days in September 2013. But in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdicts in a unanimous decision.
“The evidence the jury heard no doubt shows wrongdoing — deception, corruption, abuse of power,” Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said in a 13-page opinion. “But the federal fraud statutes at issue do not criminalize all such conduct.”
Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY; Mike Kelly, NorthJersey.com