With the rise of Scott Walker in many recent primary polls, there is one person in particular who is feeling the burn of the Wisconsin governor’s success. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to watch his fortunes erode and it appears Walker is the primary beneficiary in the race to find a worthy opponent to Jeb Bush who can also unite various factions of the party.


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Back in 2012, a lot of Republicans were so impressed by Christie that they urged him to enter the race for president. He certainly occupied an excellent perch. Presidential primary voters, regardless of party, like the idea of a governor who has wrested control of his state from the opposition party.

That’s what got Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton the Democratic nomination in 1992. In 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush pulled the same trick.

If Christie had tried it in 2012, it might well have worked. Instead Christie decided to wait till 2016.

That did not work out so well. Instead of doing his job as governor, Christie focused on preparing his presidential campaign. That led him to focus his 2013 re-election campaign on piling up support among Democratic mayors. (That meant he didn’t pull a single Republican legislator into office with him despite a 21-point landslide.)

This was supposed to show his ability to reach across the aisle. Instead it led to the Bridgegate scandal that hovers over his head to this day.

Meanwhile the Republican governor of Wisconsin focused on implementing real conservative reform in his state. As a result, Scott Walker won three elections in four years. And now he occupies the perch that Christie occupied back in 2012. And it’s hard to see how Christie can knock him off.

The first contest in the race for the 2016 nomination will be in Iowa. Of late, our governor’s been flying there just about every week. But Scott Walker doesn’t have to fly to Iowa. He can drive. It’s only 90 miles away.

He even lived there in his youth. So it’s no surprise that Walker is leading the polls for the Iowa caucuses. Christie’s way back in the pack.

In other words, the author argues, Christie missed his window when his wave peaked back in 2012. At this point, he has started the downhill slide of his tenure as Governor of a difficult state to lead and it’s beginning to sting. Walker, on the other hand, appears to have not yet peaked in his position and may be riding the right wave at the right time. Sure, it’s early, but unless Christie can do something to remain relevant into the coming months, I think there’s a possibility he will pass on 2016 as well.

A smart man once said, “politics is all about timing.” It’s a simple fact but election after election it bears truth.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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