The conventional wisdom is that Super Tuesday will be a windfall for Sen. Ted Cruz, since the nine contests on March 1 are concentrated in conservative, Southern states. Cruz certainly should emerge with the most delegates that week, but, in his eagerness to play pundit, he has raised expectations to such a point that anything short of a Southern sweep would be considered disappointing. If Christie notched victories in the non-Southern state primaries that day — along with Virginia — he’d be able to claim momentum from Super Tuesday as well.
Christie’s role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association gives him allies in many crucial primary states. In Virginia, his super PAC, America Leads, is run by Phil Cox and Tucker Martin, two top advisers to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell—and his campaign is staffed with many veterans of Virginia politics. Christie is also close to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and as RGA head he spent millions on his campaign in the deep-blue state. Four days after Super Tuesday, Maine is holding weekend caucuses, where Christie is favored to win thanks to his endorsement from Gov. Paul LePage.
After Super Tuesday, the map is much more favorable for the establishment candidate—assuming the party is unified behind one at that point.