Chris Christie Seeks To Emulate McCain 2008 Campaign

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is banking on New Hampshire to propel his presidential campaign forward. This strategic move mirrors the approach adopted by the late Arizona senator John McCain, who won the New Hampshire primary twice during his two presidential campaigns and eventually secured the Republican nomination in 2008.

Currently facing challenging odds, Christie draws inspiration from McCain’s unlikely success in New Hampshire. In 2007, McCain trailed behind Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani in the polls, with little hope of victory. However, his perseverance paid off when he won the primary and eventually became the nominee.

But the political dynamics in New Hampshire have changed since McCain’s time. Donald Trump, who won the state’s primary in 2016, is again a formidable contender. Some political observers caution against solely focusing on New Hampshire, citing the importance of looking ahead and gaining momentum.

Current polls in New Hampshire indicate that Chris Christie is lagging behind former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who has secured endorsements from New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. Trump, however, maintains a significant lead, prompting some anti-Trump Republicans to advocate for Christie to exit the race in order to enhance Haley’s prospects. Yet, the extent to which Christie’s supporters would pivot to Haley and whether this shift could propel her ahead of Trump remains uncertain.

Despite the pressure, Christie remains steadfast in his determination to stay in the race. His supporters, including longtime GOP donor Bobbie Kilberg, believe in the strength of his ideas and his ability to prevail, much like McCain did. Christie has focused his campaign efforts on counties President Biden won in 2020 while also appearing in counties that Trump carried.

The ability of undeclared voters, known as independents, to participate in the Republican primary in New Hampshire may work in Christie’s favor. Like other GOP contenders vying for attention in the Iowa caucuses, Christie has prioritized the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Although Christie’s campaign asserts that he has a path to the nomination beyond New Hampshire, his chances ultimately rely on a solid showing in the state’s primary on January 23rd.
Supporters like Rebecca Weidner, who voted for McCain, value Christie’s moderate approach and believe he can bridge the partisan divide that has plagued the country.

While McCain’s victories in New Hampshire were crucial to his campaigns, the state also played a pivotal role in Trump’s 2016 primary win. Trump’s popularity remains strong in the state, but the field of viable contenders is smaller this time. Some speculate that Trump may capture McCain’s voter base, replacing straight talk with populism. In his bid to catch a similar wave, Christie faces the challenge of cutting through the noise, especially with Trump’s absence from the GOP primary debates.