Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Wednesday that he had garnered donations from more than 40,000 people in his presidential run, meeting a threshold that takes him one step closer to appearing on the Aug. 23 debate stage in the Republican primary.
In addition to meeting the donor requirement, Christie must also get at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls. He has already met that mark in one survey, reaching 3 percent support in a poll released on Wednesday from Morning Consult.
After running for the GOP nomination in 2016 and then dropping out to back Donald Trump, Christie has emerged in the 2024 contest as one of the former president’s fiercest critics.
“Last night, we went past 40,000 unique donors in just 35 days,” Christie told Anderson Cooper on CNN, noting that he far exceeded the number of donors he acquired in the same time frame in 2016. “There is a donor in every state in America, and we have over 200 donors in 36 states.”
Throughout his campaign, Christie has aimed to cast the former president as a failed leader whose legal and ethical baggage have made him unfit for office. But the former governor — alongside all other contenders in the field — has a significant way to go to knock Trump off the top spot in the contest.
In the aforementioned qualifying poll, Trump garnered 56 percent support. The next highest-polling candidates were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 17 percent and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 8 percent.
All individuals who want to appear in the August debate must also sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. Christie suggested on CNN that he would sign it but not necessarily follow through with the promise.
“I’ll take it every bit as seriously as Donald Trump took it in 2016. We all signed the pledge in 2016,” Christie said. “At the next debate after we all signed the pledge, one of the questioners said, ‘You all signed. Would you reaffirm by raising your hand?’ And nine of us raised our hand and Donald Trump didn’t.”
Trump has not officially announced whether he will attend the August event.
A super PAC affiliated with Christie’s campaign, Tell It Like It Is, followed up Christie’s comments on Wednesday evening with a donation plea that declared he had made the stage.