Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has become a regular sight all over New Hampshire. He’s spent some time in South Carolina, too, since announcing his 2024 bid for president. But there is one notable state that he has completely skipped so far: Iowa.
Iowa’s caucuses traditionally lead off the fight for the GOP presidential nomination, bringing heavy attention to the state from contenders. This year, Iowa will kick off the delegate race on Jan. 15. As a result, every Republican presidential candidate has visited the Hawkeye State so far this year — except Christie.
When asked (during a recent trip to New Hampshire) why he hasn’t gone to Iowa yet, Christie told NBC News, “I haven’t gone because I haven’t wanted to. And if I want to, I’ll go sometime later.”
Christie’s strategy of spending more time in New Hampshire than Iowa is not new. That’s what he did during his first run for president — though not to the same extreme degree.
The former governor was in Iowa for 32 days and did 71 stops between Jan. 1, 2015, and Feb. 1, 2016, according to NBC News’ tracking of his events. Meanwhile, Christie spent 75 days in New Hampshire and made 175 stops there during the same time period.
Since July 4 of this year, Christie has spent six days in New Hampshire and had 11 events open to the press, according to NBC News’ tracker.
It only somewhat paid off. Christie finished 10th in Iowa, with 1.8% of the GOP caucus vote, but got sixth place in New Hampshire the next week, with 7.4% of the vote. Still, that wasn’t enough to stay in the 2016 race — he dropped out the day after New Hampshire’s primary.
Two presidential elections later, Christie’s standing in Iowa is still significantly lower than in New Hampshire, according to public polling. Christie’s average share in the last 10 Iowa caucus polls in the FiveThirtyEight database is 3%. In the last 10 New Hampshire primary polls, Christie is averaging 9% support.