Christie Ends Presidential Campaign

by | February 11, 2016 AT 1:00 PM

By Maddie Hanna

Gov. Christie has come home.

After striking out on a months-long quest for the White House -- and laying groundwork for years prior -- the governor suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday following a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Christie, who came back to New Jersey on Wednesday instead of going on to South Carolina, announced the decision at a campaign staff meeting in Morristown, according to a campaign spokeswoman.

Despite devoting most of his resources to New Hampshire, Christie finished sixth in the primary Tuesday, falling short of rival governors John Kasich and Jeb Bush and failing to qualify for the next GOP debate Saturday in South Carolina.

"I leave the race without an ounce of regret," Christie said in a post on his Facebook page Wednesday. "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."

He was mum on what role he might play in the 2016 campaigns, though strategists and observers said his support -- and donors -- would be courted.

"He has some very good supporters that I think any campaign would like to have," said Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire-based GOP strategist who is advising Kasich, who came in second Tuesday. "Those are folks we'd like to reach out to."

As for Christie making an endorsement, "it's hard to come off of these things and immediately shift," Rath said. "Nobody, rightfully, would press him at this point in time."

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said that a Christie endorsement probably would not pack much of a punch in the race, but any significant migration of his big donors could have an impact. Kasich and Bush would be the logical beneficiaries if the governor does decide to do so.

"I'm not a big believer in the importance of endorsements in presidential races," said Rothenberg, publisher of an independent Washington newsletter on national politics. "It's one of the few campaigns where voters have lots of information; they're watching and listening and forming their own assessments."

In addition, New Jersey is a late primary, diminishing the value of a Christie nod, he said.

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