After a day of rumors and media reports quoting anonymous staffers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie finally announced Wednesday evening he will suspend his campaign for president.
“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,” a posting on Christie’s campaign Facebook said. “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.”
It was a low-key announcement for a man who had once turned down repeated pleas from party leaders to run against President Barack Obama just four years earlier. Christie, a sixth-year governor in a blue state, was never able to generate enthusiasm and was dismissed by the party base as too moderate and too willing to compromise with Democrats.
The governor had pinned his hopes on a strong showing in New Hampshire, but he finished a quiet sixth with just 7 percent of GOP voters supporting him in Tuesday’s primary. Christie also lost ground to other governors John Kasich and Jeb Bush in the results and was facing a very difficult path as a New Jersey moderate in the Southern states that will dominate the next month of primaries. He had done very little campaigning in South Carolina and was not expected to gain significant support even if he had remained in the race.
“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,” the post continued. “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.”
Christie was scheduled to spend Wednesday and Thursday along the South Carolina region, but canceled his appearances in a College of Charleston town hall along with other stops in Mount Pleasant, Beaufort and Hilton Head.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also formally ended her campaign with a Facebook announcement earlier Wednesday.