New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will end his presidential bid on Wednesday after a disappointing sixth place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary, NBC News confirms.
Late Tuesday night, Christie told supporters he planned to “take a deep breath” and return to New Jersey to determine his next steps.
“We leave New Hampshire tonight without an ounce of regret,” he said.Christie was once lauded as a savior of the Republican Party after he won reelection in blue New Jersey in 2013 with a broad coalition that included majorities of women and Hispanics.
Known for his no-nonsense demeanor, backers hoped that he would appeal to independent-minded Republican voters who recall his headline-grabbing displays of leadership after Superstorm Sandy and in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But he failed to break into the top tier during this presidential cycle, dogged by suspicions about his involvement in the George Washington Bridge scandal and accusations that he was more bully than commander-in-chief.
His enduring mark on the race’s final days came with his blistering attacks of Marco Rubio, who as late as this weekend was considered the GOP establishment’s last best hope to overtake Donald Trump. Last week, Christie assailed Rubio as a “boy in the bubble” and a political lightweight without the heft required for the Oval Office.
Then, during a Saturday debate hosted by ABC News, Christie repeatedly laid into Rubio for using a “memorized 25-second speech” to respond to questions — an attack made more potent by the Florida senator’s reliance on canned lines even in attempts to punch back at his assailant.
Rubio ultimately placed fifth in New Hampshire, behind establishment rivals like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.