Christie was clearly what non-Southern high-end Republicans wanted--a hawk who kept his eye on the bond market. That Christie had posed a serious vetting problem for the Romney campaign back in 2012 was but a minor detail for Republicans, especially after eight years of Barack Obama. Likewise, Christie’s use of 9/11 and the fall of the Twin Towers to justify NSA overreach met with approval by Wall Street Republicans.
Huckabee, on the other hand, is closer to where the Republican Party lives and worships. He is an evangelical in a party in which half of its presidential primary voters are themselves evangelicals. Huckabee’s roots are rural and, as a party, the GOP is the home of white rural America. From the looks of things, Huckabee’s profile is well-tailored for 2016’s early contests, in a way that Christie’s bluster-filled mien is not.
The tentative 2016 primary calendar paints a picture of early wins for Huckabee in Iowa and South Carolina, a brawl between Paul and Christie in New Hampshire, a big industrial state primary in Michigan on February 23, and a March 1 demolition derby in Florida, Texas, and Virginia. If Christie does not score a win in New Hampshire or Michigan, his political obituary will read like Giuliani 2.0, a Northeast ex-prosecutor and pol who managed to offend more than charm.