Chris Christie predicts that fewer than a dozen Republicans will run for president in 2024.
He bills Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton as top contenders.
Christie says the decision comes down to appeasing one man or supporting the entire country.
Onetime Trump ally and possible 2024 presidential contender Chris Christie said the top of the next GOP ticket will probably feature Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz, or maybe a half dozen others, and will be a test of who'll guide the party into the future.
"My guess is it'll be somewhere between six and eight. And I think that you'll see people talking about whether the future of the Republican Party is as the party of me or the party of us," the former New Jersey governor told conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday.
Christie also tossed Trump-appointed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas into the potential mix with the embattled former president, Trump's estranged, two-time former running mate, and the Texas Republican Trump trounced in the 2016 presidential contest.
Other possible aspirants Christie apparently discounted include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and former South Carolina governor and Trump-appointed United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley. Christie also left himself off the list, though he ran in 2016 and has been making the rounds with other GOP leaders trying to wrest back control of the party from Trump.
Trump keeps hinting that he'll run again but has yet to make a formal announcement. That's left the door open for others to float their own agendas — like Rick Scott's provocative "Rescue America" plan and Pence's sweeping "Freedom" platform — while Trump continuously fumes about his loss to Joe Biden.
While stumping for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in May, Christie laid out the binary choice facing GOP voters, warning MAGA world that Trump's "party of me" mentality isn't a winning formula. "We have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday," Christie said. During a pre-primary rally for Kemp in Georgia, Pence stressed that "elections are about the future."
Kemp faced a primary challenge from the former senator David Perdue, whom Trump dragged out of retirement to punish Kemp for not backing his baseless 2020 election-fraud claims. Kemp beat Perdue by nearly 50 points.
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