Back in June when Chris Christie officially declared his presidential candidacy, it was noted that he was receiving “endorsements” of sorts from the kind of people who no self-respecting Republican would want on their side.
Among them were the Washington Post’s resident NeverTrumper Jennifer Rubin and “The View” co-host Joy Behar, the latter of who proclaimed that Christie was “the only bully who calls the bully Trump a coward and a puppet of Putin. So he has a shot. Bully against bully crime — my favorite.”
Though Christie’s campaign started off on a rather humiliating note, polling behind the deeply unpopular former Congresswoman Liz Cheney despite her not even being a candidate, he has remained in “I’m in it to win it” mode despite what the odds look like (he’s currently averaging less than three percent).
In the first GOP presidential debate, Christie famously made headlines for his takedown of fellow 2024 presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy, who he said “sounds like ChatGPT.” Christie also periodically hit out at former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner, something he has done repeatedly during his time as both an ABC “This Week” commentator and candidate despite cozying up to Trump in 2016.
But while his attacks on Trump didn’t move either the post-debate polling or fundraising needles with Christie as far as Republicans are concerned, his campaign is winning rave reviews and support from another camp – Democrats:
The former New Jersey governor has seen his popularity soar with Democrats. Whereas Democrats once considered him a bully, a threat and an opportunistic apologist for Donald Trump, they now can’t get enough of his new Trump-bashing persona.
A July New York Times and Siena College poll found 14 percent of Democrats would be most likely to vote for Christie as the Republican nominee — support that soared to 24 percent with Democratic “leaners” included. That’s higher than Christie’s polled in any survey of likely GOP primary voters since he entered the race in June.
And Christie ranked third-highest among Democrats following the first Republican presidential debate, with 12 percent who watched it saying he won, according to a New York Post poll. The same survey said Democrats preferred Christie to be the Republican nominee behind Liz Cheney, the former Wyoming representative who isn’t running for president.
The report also noted that there were some Democrats in New Hampshire who allegedly were considering a party switch ahead of the primary to vote for Christie, a trick his campaign is not denouncing:
“If Democrats want to donate or vote for him, we’re open to that,” a campaign spokesperson, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly, told POLITICO. The spokesperson added that Democratic interest in the moderate Republican should be “expected” given Christie’s background leading a blue state.
As I recall, Christie tried a similar strategy in 2015- 2016 but after a brief rise in some polls, he failed miserably, dropping out of the race a day after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary. Not long after that, he threw his support behind Donald Trump, whom Christie had previously urged primary voters not to support on grounds that he didn’t have the right “temperament” for the job.
Will the second time around in New Hampshire be the charm for the Jersey-born Christie, who has said before he’s running a state-by-state campaign strategy rather than a national one? Though stranger things have happened, I wouldn’t bet on it, primarily because Christie ultimately will never live down his flip-flopping on Trump in 2016 (remember the hilarious “hostage” video?) among the party switchers and independents he’d need to pull off the upset, not to mention all the Republican support he’d need that he would be unlikely to get, either, considering his history.