As expected, the New Hampshire primary last Tuesday night was a swan song for two more presidential candidates in election 2016. Both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina announced the suspension of their campaigns.
Christie’s announcement came less than 24-hours after he pummeled Florida Senator Marco Rubio sending his campaign staff into damage control. While Christie will not be part of the South Carolina primary later this month, his prosecutor-type spanking of Rubio contributed to the Florida senator’s dismal fifth-place finish after a strong third in Iowa.
The New Jersey governor finished sixth in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire. His whole campaign strategy revolved around being successful in the Granite State. He had spent a total of 71 days campaigning in the state.
Gov. Christie told a group of supporters announcing the suspension of his campaign, “I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose, and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win. And what that means is you never know.” He then left hastily for his home state.
Christie had counted on his tell-it-like-it is brash style to win over the voters. His problem running this time around, as opposed to 2012, was billionaire mogul and GOP outsider, Donald Trump. It became clear almost from the start of campaigning that the electorate was flocking to his flamboyant and often outrageous speeches and off-the-cuff remarks. In effect, Trump stole Christie’s thunder eliminating his once core group of supporters.
Chris Christie was literally knocked out as voters perceived him as too aggressive for those who wanted a milder statesman and not aggressive enough for those who wanted Trump. He once exclaimed during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, you’ve got rocks, man! You’ve got rocks everywhere! You’re the Granite State. Your state is named after rocks!” Little did the governor realize how prophetic those words would be? Instead of propelling his presidential campaign, the Granite State ended it.
Meanwhile, the campaign that really never formed a base of support led Carley Fiorina to call it quits shortly after the primary results were in. The former HP CEO wasn’t helped by the fact she was the only major candidate not invited by ABC and the RNC to Tuesday night’s debate.
Fiorina, 61, had categorized herself as an outside-the-Beltway crusader. She declared repeatedly that she was not afraid to attack Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, she could not attract the necessary campaign war chest to continue forward after two poor showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
In announcing the end of her candidacy on Facebook, she said, “While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.” At one time in her brief campaign, she had impressed the listening TV audience with her ability to put bombastic Trump in his place.
After Trump has been quoted as saying vile things about certain female members of the media, Fiorina said to Trump during the debate, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” causing the audience to erupt in thunderous cheering. That would prove to be the high point of her popularity.
Alas, Trump monopolized media attention. He sucked the air out of his opponent’s messages which badly damaged Fiorina surviving on the edge almost from the start. Her opportunity was slipping away. In her last moments in New Hampshire, she conceded that her candidacy hinged on her ability to over perform there and elsewhere.
Katie Packer Gage, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney said, “She sort of had a moment, then she faded. In the end, businesswoman Carley Fiorina may have been yet another causality of the Trump phenomena.