Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie says he would “leave” the 2024 race if he does not perform well in the first primary state of New Hampshire.
The former New Jersey governor told The New York Times in an interview that he does not see “any circumstances” where he would leave the race before the primary, but the state is key to his path to the nomination.
“If I don’t do well in New Hampshire, then I’ll leave,” he said.
Separately Christie said in an interview on NewsNation’s “CUOMO” on Thursday that he does not feel he needs to win the state to stay in the race but must do well. He said finishing in the “top four” in the state is “absolutely attainable” and is what his campaign is pushing for.
“If you don’t do well in the first few states, you should get out of the race. Voters are speaking, money will dry up. I’m just being practical about it,” Christie said.
He told the Times that said New Hampshire is about “retail campaigning” instead of “big policy speeches.”
Christie has staked much of his candidacy on New Hampshire and has seen a rise in the polls in the Granite State. An Emerson College poll from last month showed him in second place, 9 percent behind former President Trump, who is far and away the front-runner for the GOP nomination
A Times analysis of Christie’s campaign stops found more than 90 percent of his events have been in New Hampshire since February.
The former governor has been arguably the field’s most vocal critic of Trump, often making his denunciation of the former president a key part of his pitch to voters.
Christie said the way to stop Trump from winning the nomination is to deny him a victory in New Hampshire.
“I think once Donald Trump loses in one place, that entire rotted building will crumble,” he said.
But he said Trump will be the GOP nominee if he wins the state, which means New Hampshire will determine the “future” of the party and the country.
Christie vowed that a strong performance in New Hampshire would mean that he would remain in the race, adding that he has been through a presidential election before, referring to his 2016 run, and understands “what these races mean.”
He said New Hampshire is about “retail campaigning” instead of “big policy speeches.”
“What you do is you come up here to meet voters,” Christie said.
This story was updated at 3:35 p.m.