Can Christie go the distance?

This year, late breaking candidates could face higher hurdles than existed in the last two Republican nomination fights, testing Christie’s viability under the rosiest of scenarios. The field is more crowded, the competition more stiff, and the primary calendar more daunting.

The candidates blocking Christie’s path to the nomination have more resources at their disposal and have for months been assembling networks of grassroots activists and party officials in the later voting states. Where Christie would have to “scale up” after New Hampshire votes on Feb. 9, for a slew of March primaries across the south and Midwest, other candidates would simply have to turn a key to activate existing political infrastructures…

As it stands, said one Republican insider based in South Carolina, the Christie campaign in the third voting state, and first southern primary, is “eerily reminiscent of the [Rudy] Giuliani campaign. I have seen no evidence of a Christie ground game.” Christie’s team in Iowa is strong, and he has not ignored the state that will vote first, on Feb. 1, although his polling numbers are still weak there.