by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Chris Christie has joined the cavalcade of Republicans boosting party efforts to recapture Congress in midterm elections as a primer for a 2024 presidential bid.
The former New Jersey governor is lending his political muscle to the Republican group handling redistricting, fundraising for the Republican Governors Association, and possibly hitting the road to stump for GOP candidates on the 2022 ballot — as so many of his ilk are already doing.
But there is a key difference between Christie and the others: his willingness to criticize Donald Trump and his insistence the former president’s 2024 plans will not affect his own.
“I don’t think you make a decision about whether to run for president or not based upon what someone else does,” Christie said during an appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival.
“And it’s not just Donald Trump,” Christie added. “It’s whether it’s Donald Trump or any name — any of the other candidates who have been rumored for 2024, they make their own call, I make my own call, and then we see how the dynamic of the campaign plays out.”
The other tell that Christie is not just posturing about his desire to wage a second White House bid is that Republican operatives with ties to the former governor are attempting to downplay the former governor’s ambitions. Asked to detail Christie’s plans, one Republican close to him declared Tuesday that there is “not much to chat about at this point.”
Bill Palatucci, an elected member of the Republican National Committee from New Jersey and a Christie booster over the years, emphasized the former two-term governor is in demand across the country by a cross-section of GOP candidates and groups. …
… But Palatucci insisted that Christie, like most other prominent Republicans, is focused on the party’s success in 2022 and not preoccupied with the big election that comes after that.