Celebrated non-candidate calls press conference to ... not run?

He’s in?

After days of silence over whether he’ll make a run for the White House, Gov. Chris Christie has called a press conference today in Trenton.

For the past week, speculation has been swirling as those close to Christie confirmed he was rethinking more than a year of denials that he won’t make a run.

Or … he’s out?

Today’s press conference was called through the governor’s office, setting off speculation by some that he will not announce a run for president today, and does not list a specific topic. It is not unusual for Christie to announce press conferences without including the subject matter.

Over at The Corner, Robert Costa hears … out:

New Jersey Republicans tell National Review Online that Gov. Chris Christie will not run for president. The governor, they predict, will make this clear at a press conference this afternoon.

Well, if he’s out, why call the press conference at all?  Christie has explicitly and repeatedly said he won’t jump into the race.  He could just let that stand.  Of course, he’s been trying to let that stand for weeks, and it hasn’t exactly tamped down speculation or kept Republican party leaders from beating a path to his door, either.

Maybe he just wants more people to know who he is:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not well known to most Americans, including Republican primary voters, a new CBS News survey finds. Christie is considering a late entry into the race for the Republican presidential nomination and is expected to make a decision this week.

A full 70 percent of voters say they are undecided about Christie or haven’t heard enough about him, the poll found. Voters who did have an opinion of Christie were split, with 14 percent holding a favorable view and 15 percent holding an unfavorable view.

The WaPo/ABC poll shows a somewhat better name recognition level, but only moderate enthusiasm (pun intended) for a Christie candidacy at 42/34.   That’s a pretty good argument for staying out of the race at this late stage.  The only way a late entry will work is with someone with high name recognition and a positive intensity among Republicans, and that’s not the position in which Christie finds himself today.

I’d also bet on a press conference that consists of a “let me explain this in small words so you’ll understand” denial at 1 pm ET today.  And afterward, the media in attendance can all ask themselves why anyone bothered to show up.

Update: ABC also hears it’s a no:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not run for president, according to a source with direct knowledge of the governor’s thinking.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023