This post has been updated to reflect that Gov. Chris Christie has formally suspended his campaign for president.
In the wake of his poor showing at the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he has dropped out of the Republican presidential race, according to a message on his Facebook page earlier this evening:
I ran for president with the message that the government needs to once again work for the people, not the people work for the government. And while running for president I tried to reinforce what I have always believed – that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation. That message was heard by and stood for by a lot of people, but just not enough and that’s ok. I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win and what that means is you never know what will happen. That is both the magic and the mystery of politics – you never quite know when which is going to happen, even when you think you do. And so today, I leave the race without an ounce of regret.
The New Jersey governor might be considered the original bully in this race. His reputation as a scrappy politician who practically spat at his opponents — whether they were schoolteachers, old ladies, or even those who suggested he had created an official environment in which shutting down the busiest bridge in the world was acceptable political retaliation — was well known. But his style of politics, combined with his record, connected poorly with early primary and caucus voters.
After garnering no delegates in New Hampshire, where he placed sixth with 7.4 percent of the vote, a “visibly crestfallen” Christie canceled plans to travel to South Carolina on Wednesday to campaign in the state’s Feb. 20 Republican primary. He had placed tenth in Iowa, at 1.8 percent, garnering no delegates.
“I’ve never seen that look of resignation on Christie’s face,” Politico‘s Matt Friedman reported this morning. “He’s averaging just north of 2 percent in the polls there, and it looks like he won’t qualify for the next debate. You can see where this is going.”
The next GOP debate will take place on Saturday. It is likely that the Republican candidates on stage that night will include Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
Christie’s candidacy was highlighted by his sparring with Rand Paul over national security at the Aug. 6 debate and, in the last debate, calling out Marco Rubio for being a typically robotic politician, reciting lines from a “memorized 25-second” sound bite. That attack damaged Rubio, who didn’t even realize that he had fared so poorly at the Feb. 6 debate until he looked at Twitter.
Among Christie’s notable big-money backers is Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, although there were reports late last year that the billionaire had cooled in his support of the governor.
Photo: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)