BOSTON - As the Republican presidential field grows larger by the day, let's christen Chris Christie perhaps the biggest no-hoper of them all.
You will recall that the former New Jersey governor flopped in New Hampshire in 2016, then became one of the first prominent GOP figures to endorse former president Donald Trump and has since morphed back and forth several times from Trump sycophant to Trump critic.
And voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere have noticed. "Chris Christie's getting into this just to attack Trump," one male voter told CNN this week. "I don't think he has any real goals at trying to become president."
Christie proved the last time he ran that he can be an effective attack dog, to the dismay of Marco Rubio, who bled out on primary day from the mauling he took in debate from Christie. But this time around, "no one is asking Chris Christie to run for president," observes James Pindell, The Boston Globe's veteran New Hampshire primary expert. He is actually in a very unique position. When you ask Republicans who you would never support, he is number one."
So why is Christie jumping into a race he likely can't win?
The same could be asked of the growing list of potential no-hopers, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who is deeply unpopular among Republicans, and the Governor of North Dakota, Henry Winkler lookalike Doug Burgum.
And what about presumed threat Ron DeSantis, the dyspeptic governor of Florida?
The latest CBS poll places him in Trump's rear-view mirror. And while New Hampshire Republicans may be the most skeptical of Trump among the early primary states, he's one of the few winners they've picked in the past few cycles.
Says Pindell: "Its been pretty difficult to see how New Hampshire directly impacts who the nominee is."
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who recently, said the other day that Trump has no chance of beating Joe Biden next year, and he might be right. After all, Trump's preferred candidate blew a winnable U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire last fall.
But he got there by beating Sununu's choice in the primary, which underscores the reality all of these candidates must eventually face - the GOP primaries are Trump's world. They just live in it.
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