New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seem to have formed a de facto alliance against fellow Presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), with the New Hampshire Republican primary just days away.
Rubio has seen a surge in support since exceeding expectations in the Iowa Cacus. A PPP Republican national primary poll published Thursday has Rubio tied in second place at 21 percent.
Christie has railed against Rubio as the “boy in the bubble,” condemning the Florida Senator for his alleged failure to answer more than a few questions from the press.
“He just doesn’t have any experience. All he has is experience of being a legislator,” Christie said Thursday. “We’ve tried that as a party and as a country and it doesn’t work.”
The New Jersey Governor isn’t convinced that Rubio could take down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the general election.
“We need to make sure we nominate someone who not only can beat Hillary Clinton but also can manage the government and get it back on the right track once they’re elected president of the United States,” Christie said. “No need to take those chances on someone who’s never managed anything larger than a 30-person Senate staff.”
The New York Times reports that Jeb Bush has emerged as Christie’s “secret ally.”
Christie and Bush have a “shared concern” that “has even prompted the opening of a back channel: Members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt Mr. Rubio’s rise in the polls, according to Republican operatives familiar with the conversations,” The Times reports.
Bush even announced on CNN Wednesday: “I love Chris Christie,” adding, “He’s a great campaigner, he’s a good friend and he’s an effective governor.”
While Christie pushes forward with his verbal assaults, the Bush Super PAC has released hard-hitting ads directed at Rubio.
The latest UMass/7News tracking poll shows Rubio beating out Sen. Ted Cruz for second place in New Hampshire by one point, garnering 15 percent of likely voters’ support. The poll shows Bush in fourth place with 8 percent, and Christie in sixth with 5 percent of the vote.
Establishment rival John Kasich is in fifth place in the tracking poll, having obtained 7 percent support from poll respondents.