Is Christie Waiting Too Long to Announce His Presidential Plans?
Gov. Chris Christie is on record stating he would announce his decision on whether he plans to seek the GOP nomination for president at some point this month. With so many candidates already throwing their hats in the ring, some argue Christie's announcement may be too late, however, a pair of political pundits agreed that the governor's timetable makes strategic sense.
For the most part, it's typical for candidates to wait until to June to announce their plans.
"In 2012, the average candidate announced right around June, about 200 days out from the Iowa caucuses which is right where Chris Christie's talking about being," said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "Right now we have so many Republican candidates announcing right on top of each other that they're not actually getting any extra media attention so it actually makes sense for Christie to wait a little while until everyone else has already announced."
In 1980, the average GOP candidate announced almost 400 days before the Iowa caucuses, according to Cassino. At the time, candidates had to announce earlier so they could start raising campaign cash. Thanks to the addition of Super PACs, early announcements are now unnecessary.
"Back in 2007, we saw all these candidates hopping into the race officially in January or February of that year, and realized it makes it very easy to flame out. Four years ago they started to pull back and the most serious candidates waited until that May or June window," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
In 2012, Rick Perry waited until August to get into the race and got a lot of media attention, but because he had waited so long he flamed out, according to Murray. Fred Thompson waited until September of 2007 before he announced his 2008 candidacy, but the field was settled by then and there wasn't room for someone else.
In 2007, Rudy Giuliani declared his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race in mid-February and was the GOP frontrunner before fading.
There's another likely reason the Christie chose to wait to make his formal announcement.
"Every time Bridgegate comes up we see negative coverage and he wants to stay as far away from that as possible so he can say, 'Well, it's been two months since there's been any news on Bridgegate and that's a non-issue,'" Cassino explained.
Primary debates begin in August and Christie must be an announced candidate before then or he will not be allowed to participate.
"You don't want to wait too late, but you don't want to go too early so it looks like that June date that the governor has set is pretty much the sweet spot," Murray said.