Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Christie Says He Will Run

OK, maybe there are some Republicans today who know their snark. For example, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Of course, he really had no choice. If you live in Jersey and you don't master the art of sarcasm, they kick you out of the state and make you go live in Connecticut.

Anyhow, Christie was in New Hampshire on Monday for a town hall. That would be exactly the state, and exactly the sort of event, that one associates with would-be presidential candidates. And what Christie told the adoring crowd (yes, apparently there are still Christie fans) is that someone needs to be able to hit Donald Trump below the belt, and he (Christie) can be that guy. The former New Jersey governor pointed to his 2016 takedown of Marco Rubio as proof of concept.

Christie was not clear as to the exact meaning of his threat. Is he going to run for president in the never Trump lane? Or is he going to be a self-appointed Trump-critic-in-chief, available at the drop of the hat to go on [fill in name of media platform] to take the Donald down a few pegs? Christie did say that, if he's going to mount a run, he will make it official in the next 45 to 60 days.

If you asked us to guess, we would guess that, as of this moment, Christie is planning to run. If the GOP field includes a bunch of Trumper-nutters, and one non-nutter, then the former group could split the nutter vote and the latter candidate could monopolize the non-nutter vote. Given the Republican Party's preference for winner-take-all (or near-winner-take-all) primaries, the non-nutter candidate could do some real damage, and might even steal the nomination.

That said, we are not persuaded Christie is the right candidate for the non-nutter lane. He's pretty unpopular with Republicans, given his on-again/off-again Trumpism, his scandals in New Jersey (e.g., Bridgegate), his sometime embrace of Barack Obama, and several other liabilities. Further, we may be wrong that a non-nutter lane actually exists. Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) and former Maryland governor Larry Hogan have taken a long look, and all of them seem to have concluded that a run is not worth their while.

We suspect, then, that Christie will do a bunch of polling (or will look at the polling that Scott, Sununu, and Hogan have already done) and will conclude that the votes just aren't there, either in the Republican primary or in the general election. That said, he's been looking in the mirror and seeing a future president for 20 years, so you never know. After all, at 60 years old, he's only got, what, six or seven more cycles until he ages out of the presidency? Or maybe he is just trying to beat Harold Stassen and make it into the Guiness Book of Records. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates