Chris Christie drops out of Republican White House race

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    17 minutes ago
Chris Christie campaigns in New Hampshire.Image source, Sophie Park/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The Republican, who has run as a harsh critic of Donald Trump, lagged in opinion polls from the outset.

Mr Christie had faced pressure to drop out as critics of frontrunner Mr Trump scramble to unify the party behind a viable alternative to the ex-president.

This was Mr Christie’s second unsuccessful White House campaign. He lost in 2016 to Mr Trump.

Mr Christie announced that he was suspending his campaign at a town hall event in the US state of New Hampshire on Wednesday afternoon.

In his opening remarks he took a swipe at Mr Trump, accusing him of “putting himself before the people of this country”.

“Donald Trump wants you to be angry every day because he is angry,” he added later in his address.

It is not clear if he plans to endorse any of the few contenders still standing in the race to challenge Mr Trump for the Republican nomination.

Mr Christie’s planned exit comes days before the Iowa caucuses, the first of the state-by-state contests in which Republican voters will pick their preferred candidate for president.

He launched his 2024 presidential campaign in June last year, and immediately began taking swings at Mr Trump. Mr Christie had hoped to act as attack dog for a field of Trump rivals who dared not cross the Republican base, which remains deeply loyal to the former president. This strategy resulted in some fireworks during the primary debates, but without Mr Trump on stage, Mr Christie failed to land any serious direct blows.

Mr Christie has faced pressure from within an anti-Trump faction of the Republican party to drop out, thereby narrowing the field and allowing a challenger such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to emerge from the pack.

Ms Haley has been presenting a possible threat to Mr Trump in New Hampshire.

The early-voting state has a large faction of unaffiliated voters, and has been known to deliver unpredictable results.

Matthew Bartlett, a Republican strategist based in New Hampshire, said Mr Christie eventually “faced the fact that he is not going to be a viable candidate for president moving forward and is choosing to do what he says, which is to try to put forth an effort to ensure that he is not playing the role of a spoiler”.

The slogan of Mr Christie’s campaign was “because the truth matters”.

But opinion poll after poll showed that Republican primary voters did not want to hear Mr Christie’s particular truth.

“Republican voters do not want to hear the same attacks that they’ve heard from Democrats or even the media for the better part of eight years,” Mr Bartlett said. “They just don’t want to hear it. There’s nothing you can tell a Republican voter about Donald Trump that they have not yet heard over the past decade.”

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