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Christie says he plans to stay in GOP race through convention

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he plans to stay in the Republican primary race through next summer’s nominating convention, dismissing a recent CNN poll that shows him trailing former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in New Hampshire — a state he’s invested heavily in winning.

In an interview Sunday with CNN’s Dana Bash, Christie also brushed off the possibility of working with Haley or dropping out early to consolidate support behind a candidate who can mount a serious challenge to Trump, the clear frontrunner in the race.

“I think Gov. Haley and I both have the same goal, and that is to be president of the United States,” Christie said on “State of the Union.” “I think we’re showing great momentum in New Hampshire. We’ve been gaining over the last couple of weeks. I think we’re going to continue to gain in that, in that fight. And I think we’re going to do very, very well in New Hampshire on January 23.”

“This idea of people just doing math and adding up numbers, that’s not the way voters vote. And so you know, I would say to everybody out there, let’s let the campaign move forward,” Christie added.

When asked directly if he plans to remain in the race through the New Hampshire primary, Christie said, “I expect to be in this race through to the convention, Dana. And so yes, absolutely.”

Christie also said Sunday that he’s making plans to campaign in Michigan, whose primary takes place in late February — another indication that he plans to remain in the race for the foreseeable future. In an interview with ABC News, Christie said his campaign will “focus most of our time and energy” on New Hampshire for the time being, but “our next two focuses … will be South Carolina and Michigan.”

“We believe in both of those states we could do quite well,” Christie told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “We’ve already been on the ground in South Carolina a number of times in this campaign, and we’re getting ready to start going to Michigan.”

Christie again dismissed recent polling showing him trailing former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire polls, suggesting voters in the state are “just starting to engage.”

“You know, I really see people now finally starting to dig in, figure out who they think is saying the things that they want to hear, and tell them the truth to the voters in New Hampshire. I think that’s gonna make a huge difference,” Christie said.

Christie pointed to polling data from the 2008 New Hampshire Republican primary, which showed Sen. John McCain in third place at a roughly similar moment in the race before he ultimately won the state.

“You look at those numbers, John McCain was in third place at this point in in 2007, going into the ‘08 primary. That’s exactly where I am and we think we’re gonna have a very similar result,” he added.

Christie also called out Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for not aggressively criticizing Trump despite his position as the clear frontrunner. He said attacks from all three could be the key to weakening Trump and opening a path for another candidate.

“If all three of us would go after Donald Trump, well then, the most credible amongst the three of us in terms of those, those critiques would wind up winning, winning this primary I believe. And so we need to all be talking about the guy who’s in first place,” Christie said.

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