Less than 24 hours after placing a disappointing sixth in the New Hampshire primary, the New Jersey governor abandoned his campaign for the White House. In the aftermath, pollster Patrick Murray tells Chasing News that the BridgeGate scandal is partially to blame, but not in a direct way.
"The idea is that BridgeGate opens that door to say, remember this thing about Chris Christie that you have doubts about: that he is truly a loyal conservative," said Murray, who is director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Prior to the scandal breaking nationally, Christie was the front-runner for the 2016 GOP nomination. Though it took five or six months for some Republicans to be convinced BridgeGate was not a witch hunt by a Democratic legislature, by that time Christie's national presidential polling numbers had plummeted from the mid 30 percent range to single digits, Murray said.
Christie's diminishing stature in the polls through 2014 opened the door for Republicans like former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to decide on a run and compete with Christie for establishment votes.
The end of Christie's campaign came on a freezing night in Nashua, but was the beginning of the end on a late summer day in Fort Lee? Watch Chasing News and you decide.