New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has cancelled a series of campaign appearances scheduled in New Hampshire for Friday and Saturday "due to inclement weather in New Jersey," his campaign has announced.
I'm sorry, NH but I gotta go home - we got snow coming. #Jonas
— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) January 22, 2016
Christie's team initially said the governor would remain in the Granite State and had held a conference call with Cabinet secretaries to discuss storm preparations. But Christie is enduring record-low approval ratings at home despite his presidential campaign. And he's faced criticism for skipping storms before: In 2010, he stayed on vacation at Disney World while a major storm walloped the state. At the time, a spokesman said: "We are a northeastern state and we get snow — sometimes lots of it like this — and we will get through it just as we always do."
But with the latest storm only intensifying in the past several hours, his team seems to think it's prudent for him to head home.
Christie is among five candidates closely locked right now in a race to finish second to GOP front-runner Donald Trump in the New Hampshire primary, which is scheduled for Feb. 9.
While Christie plans to head home, his wife, Mary Pat Christie, will remain in New Hampshire for events Friday and Saturday, the campaign said.
Several other candidates in both parties are scheduled to be in New Hampshire this weekend before most head to Iowa next week for a final week of stops ahead of the Feb. 1 Iowa Caucus.
Rival campaigns quickly pounced on Christie's decision to leave New Hampshire and head home, tweeting out a link to an interview the governor did on Thursday night.
"I was on a call last night, I'll be on another call tonight, if it's necessary for me to get down there, I will. But I'm not driving a plow truck, okay?" he told WMUR-TV. "We have all our people ready to go, they know what to do. We've been through Hurricane Sandy — this Cabinet. So, you know, six, eight, 10, 12 inches of snow on a weekend will not be something that I think will be more than we can handle."