Chris Christie may soon have to decide what’s more important his ego or his stated goal of stopping Trump in the primaries.
As the primaries draw near, several prominent Republicans in New Hampshire say the former New Jersey governor’s large presence in the race could prove advantageous for Donald Trump. Poll after poll has revealed that Christie has been siphoning votes away from Nikki Haley, who has been rising in the Granite State.
“Chris Christie is a monumental problem for Nikki Haley,” said Mike Dennehy, a former Republican National committeeman from New Hampshire who is neutral in the race. “They are both currently splitting the Independent vote, and Haley desperately needs those votes if she is to have a chance of knocking off Trump in New Hampshire.”
A recent CBS News poll backs up that concern. The poll showed Trump leading Haley 44 percent to 29 percent, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 11 percent and Christie, the former New Jersey governor, at 10 percent. But the survey, conducted Dec. 8-15 and among 855 registered voters and with a margin of error of 4.1 percent, provided evidence that Christie was cutting into Haley’s prospective vote share.
Among those people supporting Christie, 75 percent said they were also considering Haley — far greater than the percentages who said they were considering picking DeSantis (24 percent), Trump (9 percent) or Vivek Ramaswamy (10 percent).
“Christie definitely makes Haley’s math more challenging,” said Jim Merrill, who spearheaded Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s past primary campaigns in the state and who is not supporting a candidate. “It’s safe to say that few Christie voters here would ever back Trump, so Haley would benefit if Christie withdrew.“
Despite his massive lead in national polling, former President Trump’s frontrunner status in New Hampshire has taken a hit over the past few weeks, and his supporters aren’t taking it lying down.
The New York Times reported that the “super PAC aligned with former President Donald J. Trump is putting money for the first time behind television ads attacking Nikki Haley, his former U.N. ambassador, who has gained momentum in the Republican primary.
Make America Great Again, Inc., began airing an ad in New Hampshire on Tuesday that targets Ms. Haley, according to a filing with a television network. The ad, which accused Ms. Haley of flipping her stance on a gas tax hike as governor of South Carolina, is expected to run from Tuesday until Sunday, the filing indicated.”