Only in one week, three Republicans nominees announced their candidacy for the US presidential elections, the race to the 2024 suffrage looks similar to the 2016 election race that benefited Donald Trump.
This time, the 76-year-old billionaire is the Republican frontrunner, but the logic remains the same: the more candidates, the more likely the votes against the former reality TV star will be scattered in his favor.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom Trump defeated in 2016, expected to announce his candidacy for the White House presidency on Tuesday, a day before former Vice President Mike Pence and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announce their candidacy.
Christie, who will announce his candidacy in New Hampshire, poses a new challenge to Trump as the only challenger so far willing to deal devastating blows to Trump while promoting his electoral platform.
Christie, 60, has already begun to criticize his ex-boyfriend, saying last month that Trump was afraid to debate his serious opponents.
Trump said he might miss at least one of the first two debates, expressing his reluctance to share the limelight with less popular challengers.
“If he (Trump) really did care about the country – and I have deep questions about that – he would (debate) and he shouldn’t be afraid,” Christie told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
In the 2016 election, Christie finished sixth in New Hampshire and ultimately endorsed Trump, serving as his chief advisor before the two men engaged in a highly public spat.
Since then, Christie has attacked the Republican billionaire on all sorts of issues, highlighted the growing criminal investigations targeting Trump and accused him of rigging the 2020 election results and calling him a “Putin’s puppet” for his isolationist stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
For his part, Trump revealed that he enjoys the chaos caused by crowding the arena with candidates, when he welcomed his first serious rival, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, to the election race in February.
However, the former head of the US election analysis department at Fox News, John Ellis, told AFP that Christie’s candidacy could weaken Trump’s position.
“Christie’s campaign will get massive coverage from the traditional media because he will attack Trump relentlessly, which could help him get a good number of votes in New Hampshire,” Ellis added.
He continued, “Positive media coverage gave impetus to John McCain’s campaign in New Hampshire in 2000… Christie is betting on the same thing… Regardless, it never helps that the frontrunner has someone to stone him every day”.
By Wednesday, there will be ten major candidates in the GOP primary and four others as well, but Trump has a more than 30-point lead over his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Mike Pence will announce his candidacy on Wednesday at a meeting organized by CNN in Iowa.
The announcement of his candidacy, in conjunction with the announcement of Christie’s candidacy, will complicate the electoral race less for Trump compared to DeSantis, who seeks to win over voters in the first-elected states in the country, i.e. Iowa and New Hampshire, as he seeks to remain competitive.
On Thursday, DeSantis’ efforts to focus on attraction rather than offense undermined by an angry outburst he directed at a reporter in Laconia, New Hampshire.
The ultra-conservative Florida governor is betting on Trump’s exit from the electoral race due to the growing legal threats he faces, according to the “last man standing” theory.
Essentially, the theory goes, the strategy is to keep Trump supporters satisfied with DeSantis by avoiding conflict and positioning him in the best possible way to win them over when Trump is forced to withdraw due to prosecutions.
However, DeSantis, 44, has also begun to direct criticism of his rival, questioning Trump’s commitment to conservatism, his effectiveness in the White House, and his prospects for defeating incumbent President Joe Biden.
Amused and terrified, liberals divided between supporters of Trump who see him as the front-runner in the general election and opponents who would rather see anyone else take the White House even if it means losing their own candidates.
“Opponents in the Republican primaries can do their best, but if rape charges and the Capitol riots don’t diminish Trump base, these candidates won’t succeed in winning,” Democratic election strategist Amani Wells-Onyoha said.