Kamikaze Chris

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on November 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What if I told you that, apart from Ron DeSantis and you-know-who, no candidate will have more influence over the outcome of the 2024 Republican primary than Chris Christie?

I’m not saying I believe it. In a career filled with hot takes, it’s among my hottest. But get a drink or two—or six—into me and … I think I can make myself believe it.

Christie hasn’t held office since January 2018. When he left that job his approval rating had collapsed, eroded by scandal. He washed out of the 2016 campaign after failing to crack double digits in New Hampshire, then gave Donald Trump his biggest shot of mainstream political credibility to that point by endorsing him. Never Trumpers will bear him an eternal grudge for it. Since January 6, 2021, when Christie finally saw the light about the man whom he helped make president, he’s become a strident Trump critic. Trumpers will bear him an eternal grudge for that.

He has no constituency in a post-Trump GOP. I’d expect him to underperform his 2016 benchmark of 7.4 percent in New Hampshire if he ran again in 2024, perhaps significantly.

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