TRENTON, NJ, February 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Following through on his melancholy speech on Tuesday night, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has left the Republican presidential race.
“Today, 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,” he said in a Facebook message today.
Christie staked his electoral future on the New Hampshire primary, where he finished a distant sixth place behind Senator Marco Rubio, whom he had criticized for being too pro-life.
His showing disqualified him from the next televised GOP debate on CBS this Saturday, which will feature only candidates who finished in the top three in Iowa, the top five in New Hampshire, or the top five in an average of national and state polls.
With his vote total – seven percent and 10,000 votes behind Rubio – Christie meets none of those criteria.
A visibly dejected Christie told his supporters Tuesday night that he and wife Mary Pat had “decided we're going to go home to New Jersey tomorrow, and we're going to…see what the final results are tonight because that matters – whether we're sixth, or fifth…That's going to allow us make a decision about how we move from here in this race.”
“There's no reason to sit in a hotel room in South Carolina to hear that,” he said. Riffing on Dr. Ben Carson's remarks on the night of the Iowa caucus, he said his family will “actually get a change of clothes.”
Christie had entered the race the favorite of the GOP donor class, courting deep-pocketed backers on Wall Street who disdain social issues or are socially liberal on abortion and homosexuality.
While many liked his outspoken demeanor, his overall record gave conservatives pause. He vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood for several years in a row – out of budgetary considerations, he said. However, he also appointed pro-abortion Justice Lee Solomon to the state Supreme Court.
He decided not to appeal a judicial ruling redefining marriage, making New Jersey the only state to have its law overturned by a county judge. Pro-family leaders called his inaction “a disqualifying failure.”
In 2013, he became the second governor in the nation to ban reparative therapy – a therapeutic approach to assist teens lessen unwanted feelings of homosexual attraction – for minors. Those were among many reasons Christian voters were unlikely to vote for Christie in the primaries.
After entering the race, Gov. Christie remained a staunch opponent of conscience rights for Christians when their interests collided with those of the LGBT lobby. He said traditionally minded business owners had no right to opt out of participating in same-sex “weddings” and, when the Kim Davis case heated up last summer, he said, “You took the job and you took the oath…You have to do it.”
The “Establishment lane” of the GOP primaries filled up quickly – a situation that is more confused than ever following Rubio's third place finish in Iowa, John Kasich's second place showing in New Hampshire, and Jeb Bush's promise to run tens of millions of dollars of negative advertising to bring the other two down.
Christie's honesty and integrity had come under question as the campaign wore on. In 1994, Christie told a local New Jersey newspaper, “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution.” This year, he denied making the donation, saying the article was a “misquote”; however, he hired the man who wrote the article, Brian Murray, as his spokesman in the governor's office.
He also appeared to fudge his support for Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009, as well as his position on gun control.
In the campaign's closing days, Christie tried to claw his way into contention in New Hampshire by attacking those who are 100 percent pro-life.
“On the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for…rape, incest or life of the mother,” Christie said on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” last week. “I'm pro-life, but I believe [in exceptions for] rape, incest, and life of the mother.”
Although he raised $26.7 million in campaign funds, he has just $4.9 million cash remaining, and the Southern primaries on the horizon do not favor the candidacy of a Northeastern moderate
That regional and ideological ground was evident n his remarks Tuesday night, as Gov. Christie thanked the governors who had endorsed him: Governor Paul LePage of Maine, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan of Maryland. Gov. LePage is strongly pro-life, while Baker and Hogan have vowed not to change abortion laws in their states.
Christie is the tenth Republican presidential candidate to leave the exceptionally crowded 2016 Republican presidential field, behind Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Carly Fiorina.