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Christie pushes back on calls for him to drop out in 7-figure New Hampshire ad buy

By Ali Main, CNN

(CNN) — Chris Christie is directly pushing back on calls for him to drop out of the 2024 Republican presidential primary in a new seven-figure ad buy debuting in New Hampshire on Thursday, according to details shared exclusively with CNN.

“Some people say I should drop out of this race. Really? I’m the only one saying Donald Trump is a liar,” the former New Jersey governor, who trails the former president significantly, says in a direct-to-camera ad launching on broadcast and digital platforms.

The buy marks a strategic decision by Christie’s campaign to ramp up resources dedicated to its all-in-on-New Hampshire strategy ahead of the January 23 primary. His campaign has so far touted a low campaign cash burn rate – relying mainly on media interviews and ads funded by a super PAC supporting him.

In the 30-second spot, Christie alludes to his one-time ally’s vengeful Christmas message and role in the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot, telling Granite State voters, “He’ll burn America to the ground to help himself. Every Republican leader says that in private. I’m the only one saying it in public.”

Christie has sharpened his response to voters who question why he stays in the race, arguing that he’s the only one taking on the GOP front-runner directly.

A recent CBS News/YouGov poll found 10% of likely GOP primary voters in the Granite State said Christie is their first choice, trailing Trump at 44% and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 29%, but sitting about even with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 11%.

Haley has gained momentum and donor support recently, and Christie is under pressure to drop out of the race to consolidate the number of Trump alternative candidates. But Christie pointed out on the campaign trail last week that even if he left the race before the New Hampshire primary, not all of his supporters would necessarily back Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations.

He told a voter at a house party in Portsmouth last week that if Haley showed him “she was actually running against Donald Trump,” then he “might” consider supporting her.

But, Christie argued, “Nikki won’t answer the question” as to whether she would accept a vice presidential role from Trump, something he and DeSantis have both said they would reject.

The Christie campaign’s New Hampshire investment also includes a second ad, called “The Choice,” that will launch on Friday, detailing Christie’s vision for America and issuing a call for unity.

This story has been updated with additional context.

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