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Republican Chris Christie

Photo: Charles Krupa / AP

Donald Trump is getting a new old challenger: According to US media reports, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to run in the Republican primaries for the 2024 presidential election.

After weeks of speculation about his intentions, Christie will officially open his campaign next Tuesday in a town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. This is reported by the US media and the Reuters news agency.

Christie had already run against Donald Trump in 2015, but withdrew his candidacy in February 2016 after disappointing results. After Trump's election victory, Christie had supported the US billionaire, but turned against him because of the events of January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.

Since then, the ex-governor has repeatedly called on his party to move away from Trump's claims that the 2020 election was rigged, including in his book "Republican Rescue". This stance could, in theory, earn him the support of moderate Republicans. Christie had already announced last March that she did not want to vote for Trump.

In public appearances, the former federal prosecutor has argued that only he has the ability and willingness to take on Trump directly. He criticized other rivals such as former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who have mostly avoided confrontation.

Trump in first place in polls

Christie joins a number of Republican politicians who want to challenge Trump in the primaries. A May 9-15 poll by Reuters and research firm Ipsos found Trump supported by 49 percent of Republicans, while Ron DeSantis is a distant second with 19 percent. He is followed by Mike Pence with five percent and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley with four percent.

As governor of a two-term Democratic state, the brash and charismatic Christie was once considered a rising Republican star. However, his second term was marred by the "Bridgegate" scandal, in which two of his associates were accused of deliberately closing lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge to New York City in order to punish a local mayor who had refused to support his reelection campaign.

As a federal prosecutor of New Jersey, Christie prosecuted Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, for tax evasion and other crimes. In the early stages of the 2016 election campaign, he and Trump exchanged numerous taunts. However, just weeks after his exit from the race, Christie endorsed Trump ahead of other competitors, giving his candidacy a boost at a critical time.

While serving as a campaign adviser, Christie became a political burden late in the race when witnesses testified during the criminal trial of his aides that he knew about the bridge closures. Christie has denied knowing about the plot. Nevertheless, he was passed over first as vice president and later as attorney general. Three days after Trump's surprise victory, Christie was fired as head of Trump's transition team at the White House.

Christie had already run in the 2012 primaries, but was beaten by Mitt Romney.