New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will reportedly announce Wednesday that he will end his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, after coming in a distant sixth in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. A week earlier, he had won no delegates in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Christie, who had been heavily recruited by Republican activists and donors to run in 2012, saw his standing take a hit after revelations in 2014 that his administration decided to intentionally create traffic problems on a major bridge to punish a local mayor who did not endorse in 2013 gubernatorial re-election. Christie denied involvement or knowledge of the plot, but a former aide claimed he was aware of the lane closures.
Though his challenge to Sen. Marco Rubio’s canned talking points in Saturday’s debate were widely seen as quelling any momentum the Florida Republican received from his third place Iowa finish, Christie’s eight-month-long campaign never caught on with Republican primary voters.
Christie’s record as governor prior to his campaign was one of brash speaking, hostility to critics, and anti-worker policies that hurt his state’s economy and credit ratings, but had included some more moderate positions on Common Core, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, climate change, gun violence, and LGBT equality.
As a presidential candidate, however, Christie abandoned many of this more mainstream positions. He became a strong critic of Common Core. He abandoned his support for a pathway to citizenship, suggested that immigrants should be tracked like FedEx packages, and even called for the nation to reconsider the 14th amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.
During his campaign, Christie said global warming is “not a crisis” and that he is not “relying on any scientists” to inform his views. He denounced President Obama’s attempts to reduce gun violence as him being a “petulant child.” And when Kim Davis refused to follow the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling — a ruling Christie had denounced — Christie argued that while public officials must follow the law, “we have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too.”
Still, on Tuesday, when he was asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson “which of your views have changed during this campaign?” Christie gave the following response: “During this campaign, I don’t think any of my views have changed during this campaign.”
Christie is term-limited as governor of New Jersey and his term ends in January 2018. As of January, his approval rating in the state was just 31 percent.
Christie made departure official on Wednesday afternoon, writing in a Facebook post, “I leave the race without an ounce of regret. I’m so proud of the campaign we ran, the people that ran it with me and all those who gave us their support and confidence along the way.”