"I leave the race without an ounce of regret," the New Jersey governor wrote in a Facebook post announcing the news. "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."
Christie held a meeting with his campaign staff at 4 p.m. today to thank them and announce the news, according to a spokesperson for the campaign. He also called donors and key supporters to thank them for their support.
The decision comes a day after the New Jersey governor came in a disappointing 6th place in New Hampshire, despite a heavy investment of time and funds into the first-in-the-nation primary contest.
"We came to new Hampshire to bring the message," Christie told gathered supporters in Nashua, New Hampshire as election results rolled in last night. "The message was heard by a lot of folks. And it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough."
“We have worked incredibly hard up here, spent so much time and we don't regret one minute," he told the crowd.
Christie launched his bid for the White House last June, encapsulating his straight-talking style with a campaign slogan of "Telling It Like It Is” and focused the majority of his efforts in New Hampshire, where he was hoping for a far better showing.
In 2012, he turned down calls to seek the presidency, saying at the time that he wasn't ready. Following his successful reelection in 2013, Christie was widely considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination this year. But he expended some political capital after the scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, which he has consistently denied knowing anything about until the scandal erupted.
Christie will return to New Jersey with almost two full years remaining in his second gubernatorial term.