On the campaign trail in Bedford Tuesday night, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got yet another question from a town hall attendee. Not about what he would do as president, but when will he get out of the presidential primary race?
As Lisa Kashinsky at Politico reported the exchange:
Christie: “The way that you’re using that math: ‘Oh, well, if Christie dropped out, all his voters would go to Haley, and then she would be within, like, eight points of Trump. And wouldn’t that be great?’”
“Yes!” the man says.
“No!” Christie says back. “Not all of my voters are going to go to her because a lot of the people who are voting for me are voting for me because I’ve had the guts to stand up to Trump.”
But according to New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, it is a moot point. Christie is already losing his support whether he gets out of the race or not.
Sununu made his comments to WFEA radio host Drew Cline Tuesday morning.
Asked about Nikki Haley’s polling success in New Hampshire and Christie holding on to 10 percent of the vote, keeping her from surpassing Trump, Sununu said it wasn’t a problem.
“Some of that 10 percent is coming whether Chris stays in the race or not,” Sununu said.
“The Chris Christie voters see the writing on the wall. They’re smart. And their mission is to make sure Trump isn’t the nominee. Chris is not that path anymore. So, whether Chris stays in or out, that’s really up to Chris — but those voters are sliding over [to Haley].
“You don’t necessarily need Chris to get out for Nikki to be successful,” Sununu added. “She’ll take those voters no matter what.”
Christie has been both consistent and adamant that he has no intention of leaving the race before New Hampshire. One of his most prominent New Hampshire supporters, former state GOP chairman Rep. Wayne MacDonald, told NHJournal, “None of the Christie voters who I know are going anywhere.
“This is wishful thinking on the part of the Haley Campaign. It’s questionable as to whether she’ll be able to sustain the bump she received from Gov. Sununu’s endorsement,” MacDonald said.
Sununu has also been mocked over his prediction of a Haley landslide in New Hampshire, where Trump continues to lead the field by an average of 23 points. He clarified his views on WFEA Tuesday as well.
“So, it’s all about turning out the vote. That’s where the landslide comment came from,” Sununu told Cline.
“The argument is if everyone votes, if we had a hundred percent voter turnout, yes, she would win in a landslide — if all the undeclared voters that can vote in the primary came out, I have no doubt she would crush it. But we’re gonna get, even having the strongest voter turnout in the country, we might get 50, 55 percent voter turnout, maybe even 60 percent if we’re really lucky.”
And if turnout is only “the core base of traditional voters, then yeah — Trump is likely to be the winner” in New Hampshire, Sununu said.
“But if we can kind of expand that universe a little bit in terms of folks who actually participate, then yes — Nikki not just has a shot, but I do believe she wins.”