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Chris Christie declares run for White House in attempt to thwart Trump

Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waves to guests during his introduction at a gathering on June 6 in Manchester, N.H.
Charles Krupa
/
AP
Republican presidential candidate former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waves to guests during his introduction at a gathering on June 6 in Manchester, N.H.

Updated June 6, 2023 at 7:15 PM ET

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made it official on Tuesday with an announcement that he is running for president in 2024. He filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission earlier Tuesday.

"I intend to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2024 and I want your support," he said at the end of a lengthy speech focused on history and character.

Christie's announcement came at a town hall event at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., a location chosen for its strategic importance to the nomination process. New Hampshire prides itself on its "first in the nation" status for presidential primaries and remains the first primary election in the GOP calendar. Iowa is the first voting contest for Republicans when it holds it caucuses in early 2024.

Christie has spent a notable amount of time in New Hampshire leading up to his event.

He first ran for president in 2016, arguing he was a candidate who would "tell it like it is." But that message was drowned out by eventual Republican nominee Donald Trump. Christie dropped out of the 2016 race after a disappointing sixth-place showing in New Hampshire.

"Beware of the leader in this country who you have handed leadership to who has never made a mistake, who has never done anything wrong, who when something goes wrong it is someone else's fault, and who has never lost," Christie told the New Hampshire audience, alluding to Trump.

"I've lost," Christie quipped. "You people did that to me in 2016."

His speech continued to take jabs at the former president, saying "a leader like that thinks America's greatness resides in the mirror he's looking at."

"I believe that America's greatness resides out there," Christie said, pointing to the audience, "with all of you."

President-elect Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shake hands following their meeting on Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, N.J.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shake hands following their meeting on Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, N.J.

Christie is expected to position himself as a traditional conservative alternative to Trump

Christie and Trump were once longtime friends, and Christie endorsed him in the 2016 primary after ending his own campaign. But Christie broke with the former president in the aftermath of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, blaming his lies about a "stolen election" for the violence that occurred. In 2021, he wrote a book titled Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden, and his criticisms of Trump have become more forceful since the former president announced a second run.

During his time as governor, Christie gained national attention, and had flirted with a presidential run in 2012. He again found himself on the national stage when Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey, just days before the 2012 election. His decision to welcome then-President Obama while surveying storm damage, as Obama vied for a second term, angered many Republicans. But putting aside partisan politics to address the storm secured him his highest approval ever in the state, nearing 80 percent New Jersey voters.

The following year Christie was embroiled in a controversy dubbed "Bridgegate," in which several of his staffers engineered lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against a local mayor. Multiple people involved in the scandal faced criminal charges. Although Christie himself was never charged, the saga decimated his reputation, and he left office as the state's least popular governor ever.

NPR Senior Political Editor and Correspondent Domenico Montanaro contributed to this story.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lexie Schapitl
Lexie Schapitl is an assistant producer with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces, the NPR Politics Podcast, and digital content. She also reports from the field and helps run the NPR Politics social media channels.