Welcome to the second round of elimination in the 2016 presidential primary. We’re already down Martin O’Malley, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul.
Today, we lost New Jersey governor Chris Christie — who made 190 stops in the state, according to NECN, and was hit especially hard by super PACs — and former Hewlett-Packard CEO and failed Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. There will be few voters who miss them.
Christie already went back to New Jersey, where his approval rating has fallen closer and closer to his sad presidential poll numbers in his absence. A poll from last month showed that 31 percent of New Jersey voters think he’s doing a good job — only one percentage point above his record low. Back in October, two-thirds of voters back home thought he should get out of the race.
Christie has come up with many excuses to explain the dismal situation awaiting his return. “The fact is whenever you’re looking for a new job, your current employer gets a little miffed,” he said.
“They want me to stay,” he said at another point of his current constituents, maybe more to himself than to the reporters asking about it. “I’ve heard that from lots of people at town hall meetings. ‘Don’t leave to run for president because we want you to stay.'”
Those hypothetical New Jersey residents’ dreams just came true.
The debates will feel different without Christie and his many signature moves — the “Stare at the camera while you talk about Hillary Clinton,” the “Complain about the legislative branch,” the “Beg your opponents to stop talking about policy and go back to scaring voters,” and the “Make fun of Rubio until everyone thinks he’s a loser.”
Chris Christie is like a bee. He stung Marco Rubio, then he died.
— Jacob Weisberg (@jacobwe) February 10, 2016
On the bright side (well, for him), not trying to make people care about Chris Christie’s thoughts will free up time for Christie’s first passion: spreading the gospel of Springsteen. As the governor told The Atlantic back in 2012, “No one is beyond the reach of Bruce! No one is beyond the reach of Bruce!”
Fiorina, for her part, had far less of a chance of being president than Christie ever had. Her campaign peaked way back in September, when she first escaped the undercard debate and made it to prime time.
Today, I am suspending my campaign. My full statement is here: https://t.co/8QElLZoc1W
— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) February 10, 2016
Fiorina earned 4 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, after getting 1.9 percent in Iowa. It might be a good year for self-proclaimed outsiders, but you can only elect so many of them.
Finally, Ben Carson — no, of course he didn’t quit — said in a statement yesterday that he “will carry on this fight for as long as the people stand with me.”
Apparently no one told him to do a quick head count; Carson got 2 percent of the vote in New Hampshire. He might have gotten the message, though, as he didn’t bother showing up to his own primary party, which could be better described as “depressingly sedate, even for a nursing home book club.” According to The Guardian, “There were two bars set up but neither was inundated. A woman working behind one of them spent much of her time knitting a blanket.”