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Republican presidential candidate placing all his chips on one crucial early voting state

CONCORD, N.H. – Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie returns to New Hampshire on Thursday to formally place his name on the ballot in the state that holds the first primary and second overall contest in the Republican presidential nominating calendar.

And for Christie, as he makes his second bid for the White House, it’s once again all about New Hampshire.

Christie, the most vocal critic of former President Donald Trump in the relatively large field of Republican White House contenders, has said that he’ll drop out of the 2024 race if he doesn’t do well in New Hampshire.

And as he campaigns in New Hampshire, Christie repeatedly warns Granite State Republicans “if Donald Trump wins here, he will be our nominee. And everything that happens after is going to be on our party and our country.” 

While Christie’s campaign wasn’t part of the push, the candidate told Fox News that “we better start expanding the Republican Party and our voters. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that as many people in New Hampshire vote as possible who care about the issues we’re talking about and want to have their voice heard and have that translate. That’s the kind of campaign we’ve got to run across the entire country for the rest of the primary, and after I’m the nominee, the kind that I’ll run there.”

“I think that whatever we can do to expand the number of people who are hearing our voices and participating in our process makes us a stronger and a better party,” Christie emphasized.

Chris Christie allies gambit for Democrats in New Hampshire

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate who’s making another White House run, headlines a town hall in Gilford, New Hampshire on Oct. 5, 2023 (Fox News – Deirdre Heavey)

And that’s the Christie campaign’s game plan.

The campaign views the Granite State as the crucial first step, but “unlike eight years ago he has more of a national strategy in addition to doing well in New Hampshire.”

An adviser told Fox News that “if Christie does well in New Hampshire, it’s a recipe that can be recreated in a number of states that have open primary processes where you take your core support with the Republican Party, but you also amplify it with support from independents who participate in the process.”

Christie told Fox News Digital in June – during a stop at the iconic Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, New Hampshire – spelled out his path forward. “South Carolina has basically become a satellite of the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area, the low country in particular. We have lots of friendships and relationships in Nevada. And we’ll spend time there as well. And then we’ll move on to Super Tuesday after that.”

It’s a long shot, to say the least. But Christie remains optimistic as he compares his second White House run to his 2016 presidential campaign.

“We see it at every one of our town halls that now, eight years later, people are coming in and coming up to me afterward and saying, ‘we’re with you, we’re voting for you.’ It’s a much different feeling now than it was eight years ago,” Christie emphasized. “

And pointing to his verbal attacks on Trump, he offered “I think it’s because I’m the only person in this race who’s telling the truth.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire. 

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