New Jersey’s Republican governor, who’s considering a run for president, began February with an England trip derailed by a comment about vaccines. Things went downhill from there, as news outlets reported donors queuing up behind Jeb Bush, New Jersey allies faced fresh scandals and the New York Times detailed his lavish travel on other peoples’ tabs.
Four years ago, Christie told party leaders and business executives he wasn’t ready for the White House when they asked him to run. This month, he has been laboring to dispel that idea as the stories kept him on defense and other candidates lined up backers and wealthy patrons.
“It’s bad in terms of the invisible primary -- the race to pick up staffers, get support from activists and to lock up the donors,” said Ford O’Connell, who oversaw rural voter outreach for John McCain’s 2008 primary campaign. “You don’t want everything coming down at you all at once. He’s not controlling his ability to get the bad things out of the way.”
O’Connell, the McCain veteran, said that in 2008 the U.S. senator from Arizona was trailing and seemingly shut out of the money race but sealed up the nomination late in the process.
Christie is “hanging on by a thread, and he’s lost a lot of luster, but given the fact that anything can happen in a Republican primary, it means he isn’t dead,” O’Connell said. “What Christie has going for him is that he’s the best retail politician of the bunch when he’s on the stump. And he has ambition.”