Christie’s Path to Victory Goes Through New Hampshire — and Through Rubio

AP Photo/Mel Evans
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Josh Kraushaar at National Journal writes:

Even as New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie slowly rises in the New Hamp­shire polls, he faces deep-seated skep­ti­cism from party lead­ers, pun­dits, and donors. His re­lent­less fo­cus on the Gran­ite State has left him with bare-bones op­er­a­tions in oth­er con­sequen­tial states, and few party op­er­at­ives think his ab­ras­ive, tell-it-like-it-is style will play at all out­side the North­east. If he does cap­ture mo­mentum, fresh remind­ers of his post-Hur­ricane Sandy em­brace of Pres­id­ent Obama along with the Bridgegate scan­dal risk trip­ping up his cam­paign yet again.

All told, many party op­er­at­ives fear that a Christie vic­tory—or strong second-place fin­ish in New Hamp­shire—would be a worst-case scen­ario for the GOP, side­lin­ing the es­tab­lish­ment’s best hope in Flor­ida Sen. Marco Ru­bio, and po­ten­tially splitting the cen­ter-right wing of the party in­def­in­itely.

That’s cer­tainly a cred­ible scen­ario, one I out­lined in my column last week. But Christie al­lies wel­come the low ex­pect­a­tions giv­en their can­did­ate out­side New Hamp­shire, and feel con­fid­ent he is as well-po­si­tioned as Ru­bio to make a strong show­ing on Su­per Tues­day. As much as Ru­bio’s com­pel­ling bio­graphy and polit­ic­al po­ten­tial ex­cite GOP op­er­at­ives, Christie’s role as a former U.S at­tor­ney and governor bet­ter fits the tra­di­tion­al mold of an ex­per­i­enced com­mand­er-in-chief…

Read the article here.