NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 09, 2016)(RESTRICTED POOL) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will end his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a senior aide said on Wednesday (February 10), a day after his disappointing sixth place showing in the New Hampshire primary.
The weak showing in the nation’s first primary raised doubts about the combative New Jersey governor’s viability as a candidate for the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Christie’s departure would leave eight Republicans from a field that once had 17 candidates vying to represent the party. Billionaire Donald Trump has dominated the Republican race and won the party primary in New Hampshire on a wave of voter anger at traditional U.S. politicians.
After his image was badly damaged last year by the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal, Christie has recently seen his standing in national polls in the Republican race dip to the single digits.
In September 2013, lane closings were ordered by his aides for the approach to the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City. Some critics said they were political retribution against a New Jersey mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign. He has disavowed knowledge of the closures.
Conservatives have been suspicious of his record of working at times with Democrats in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, and still resent his hug and warm words for President Barack Obama after superstorm Sandy in the final days of the 2012 presidential race.
But Christie has won praise for his ability to connect with voters in person, and he recently won a victory in a fight with unions over the state’s pension system.
He has cultivated his in-your-face image, once telling a heckler to “sit down and shut up” and getting into frequent shouting matches with New Jersey residents who challenge him.