Chris Christie calls time on bid to be Republican presidential candidate

Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, yesterday said he would not run for the Republican nomination, dashing the hopes of party activists unenthused by Mitt Romney, the most likely opponent of President Barack Obama next year.

"Now is not my time," the 49-year-old Mr Christie told a press conference. "Over the last week I've thought long and hard, but the deciding factor was that it didn't feel right to me in my gut. I made a commitment to the people of New Jersey, who elected me to get a job done, and I'm not prepared to walk away."

So, with the humour and bluntness that made him so appealing to many Republicans, he added : "Whether you like it or not, New Jersey, you're stuck with me."

Speculation about a Christie candidacy began months ago, but he insisted he would not run, declaring over and over again that he "wasn't ready". But in recent weeks, pleas from party strategists and fundraisers intensified, reaching fever pitch when he delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan library in California. "We need you, your country needs you," one woman in the audience told him. Mr Christie then said he was reconsidering his refusal. But yesterday he made clear that the reasons that stopped him throwing his hat into the ring had not changed: "It was always a long shot I would change my mind."

In fact, the difficulties had if anything multiplied. The first primary votes, in Iowa and New Hampshire, are barely three months away, leaving little time to raise money, hire advisers and get a state-by-state campaign organisation in place.

Nor was there any guarantee of victory. A Washington Post poll gave the New Jersey governor only 10 per cent of potential votes, behind Mr Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, on 25 per cent. The Texas governor Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain tied for second with 16 per cent apiece.

Mr Christie did leave open the prospect of a White House run one day. But as far as 2012 is concerned, about the only potential contender who could have an impact now is Sarah Palin. But according to the poll, two thirds of Republicans want her to stay out of the race.

The main beneficiary of the New Jersey governor's decision is likely to be Mr Romney, with whom Mr Christie would have competed for the votes of more moderate Republicans.

Perry's Confederate spat

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has faced criticism for defending controversial Confederate symbols.

The Texas governor – whose popularity as a runner in the Republican race has halved over the past month - opposed a campaign to prevent Southern state houses from flying the Confederate flag 11 years ago because Americans "should never forget our history".

He continues to defend the symbol. Confederate colours are widely seen as discriminatory, prompting critics to accuse Mr Perry of showing a lack of sensitivity towards race issues.

Njoli Liston

News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

C# Developer

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: My client is lo...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor