Gov. Chris Christie is finally and definitively out of the presidential race. Some think it was, given his long history of denials, a highly predictable “no.” But in behind-the-scenes talks with National Review Online, Christie aides, confidants, and donors said he was much closer to launching a candidacy than he let on. Here are five reasons why, at the eleventh hour, he decided to stay in the Garden State.
There was never enough of it. In private chats, Christie backers often spoke of Bill Clinton’s October 1991 campaign launch, but that was never a real model for the governor. He and his allies knew that with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry already on the ground in early primary states, time was of the essence — and they didn’t have it. As Christie mulled for weeks, his team was under instructions to sit on their hands, and to do nothing that sniffed of actual political activity. His campaign contributors were told the same. Instead, they watched, often with regret, as early states moved up their election dates. By early this week, when Christie briefly reconsidered, the clock didn’t make sense to his team. They certainly had media buzz, but that was all that was guaranteed — a big risk in a compressed period when staffers, operatives, and activist organization are crucial.