Featured image: New Jersey governor Chris Christie speaks during the launch of his presidential bid at the Livingston High School gymnasium in Livingston, New Jersey, on June 30, 2015 (Ilana Goldin/The Lance/Byline)
This content was originally published on the Campaigner.
LIVINGSTON, New Jersey — New Jersey governor Chris Christie has suspended his presidential campaign, a source close to his campaign toldCampaigner late Wednesday. Christie’s campaign later confirmed the news.
The source said Christie notified campaign staff during a 4 p.m. meeting and met with aides and top supporters to discuss his decision after his disappointing sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary. He had returned to his home state to “take a deep breath”and put all campaign events in South Carolina on hold.
“We’re going to see what the final results are tonight because that matters,” Christie said. “It’s going to take a while to count these votes… we want to see exactly what happens.”
Christie had aggressively courted voters in New Hampshire, crossing the state for dozens of town-hall-style meetings, but his candidacy was overshadowed in the crowded Republican field by New York billionaire businessman Donald Trump.
Worse yet, voters in New Hampshire bucked establishment candidates in an election season where governors — despite their experience — haven’t seemed to gain traction. Ohio governor John Kasich and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have struggled to gain traction in recent months, while former New York governor George Pataki and outgoing Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal have already bowed out.
‘Telling it like it is’
Above: supporter waits before Chris Christie launched his presidential campaign at Livingston High School (Ilana Goldin/The Lance/Byline)
Christie, 52, had kicked off his presidential campaign at Livingston High School on June 30, 2015; he worked vigorously to tout his hometown roots and aimed to appeal to key primary voters with a brash, clear-cut speech.
Throughout his campaign, he chose to demonstrate his unscripted, town-hall speaking style by refusing to use a teleprompter, and he pledged to sweep voter anxiety away with “strong leadership and decisiveness.”
“America is tired of hand-wringing and indecisiveness and weakness in the Oval Office,” Christie told the cheering crowd. “We have to have strength and decision-making and authority back in the Oval office and that is why today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America.”
Facing off against a field of better-financed rivals, Christie relied heavily on his most recognizable advantage — his personality. With his New Jersey swagger and a promise to “tell it like it is,” Christie portrayed himself as the only candidate forceful and truthful enough to govern the nation, and he openly displayed his disdain for Washington, D.C.
“If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed that compromise was a dirty word, we’d still be under the crown of England,” he said, blaming both political parties for the dysfunction that has become characteristic of Congress in recent years.
Christie also took aim at the President and in particular his former secretary of state, arguing that “after seven years of a weak and feckless foreign policy run by Barack Obama, we better not turn it over to his second mate, Hillary Clinton.”
Above: A woman stands in front of protesters outside Livingston High School (Ilana Goldin/The Lance/Byline)
While Christie brought substantial character to the presidential field, fundraising was never his strong point, According to Politico, he only raised $4.2 million in the fouth quarter of 2015, and ended with roughly $1 million cash on hand.
Christie did have some high moments in his time on the campaign trail. A video clip from the Huffington Post of him speaking about drug addition went viral, earning him praise, and he appeared positioned to place in the top five in New Hampshire a month before voters headed to the polls.
Before his campaign, Christie served as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and has branded himself as a fiscally-conservative, no-nonsense politician. with a lengthy record of public service that spans more than a decade.
He gained prominence and praise from residents of his home state and across the nation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but his popularity has since dropped due to a string of credit downgrades and low job growth. The George Washington Bridge lane closures last fall, which resulted in the arrests of two of his top aides, has also cast doubts over his administration’s ethical practices, although Christie has maintained his innocence and was never implicated in the political payback scheme.