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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence