New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ends 2016 White House bid

File photo of U.S. Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressing the crowd at a primary election night party Nashua. (Reuters)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for president “without an ounce of regret” on Wednesday, a day after his disappointing sixth-place finish in New Hampshire’s primary.

“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,” Christie wrote on his Facebook page and in an email to supporters. “That message was heard by and stood for by a lot of people, but just not enough and that’s OK.”

Campaign spokeswoman Samantha Smith said Christie shared his decision with staff at his campaign headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, late Wednesday afternoon, and also called donors and other supporters to give them the news.

At his New Hampshire watch party Tuesday night, Christie told supporters he was heading home to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and decide what to do next. But he spoke of his campaign in the past tense at one point and cancelled a Wednesday event in next-to-vote South Carolina, suggesting the end was near.

Christie dropped out of the race the same day that Carly Fiorina announced on social media that she, too, was calling it quits. The former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard won just 4 percent of the vote in New Hampshire. Christie had 7 percent.

Christie had been banking on a strong finish in New Hampshire and spent more than 70 days campaigning in the state, holding well-received town halls and meet-and-greets, as well as racking up a long list of notable endorsements from state legislative leaders in New Hampshire.

Christie, who was once seen as a rising star in his party, entered the race badly damaged by a traffic jam scandal involving top aides. After his team and a supportive super PAC spent months working to rebuild his reputation, he was barraged by more than $5 million in negative adverting.

“There was a lot of money spent against him and it obviously had an impact,” said Tucker Martin of the super PAC America Leads. “We recognized that we were taking water in January and we didn’t have enough buckets to get it out of the ship.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46