Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie end presidential bids – Los Angeles Times

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose brand of tough-talking politics was overtaken by the Donald Trump phenomenon, dropped out of the race Wednesday after lagging a crowded Republican field in the New Hampshire primary.

“I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win,” Christie wrote Wednesday, in a message on his campaign’s Facebook page.

“It is both the magic and the mystery of politics that you never quite know when which is going to happen, even when you think you do.

“And so today, I leave the race without an ounce of regret.”

Christie never expected to do well in the Iowa caucuses, but the second-term governor had staked his White House ambitions on a strong showing in New Hampshire, spending more than 70 days on the trail there. Instead, he finished a disappointing sixth and last night announced he would scrap a scheduled trip to South Carolina and return to New Jersey to reassess.

Christie’s hopes in New Hampshire were buoyed after a strong performance in Saturday’s debate, in which he mocked and mauled Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for repeating a scripted attack line against President Obama.

“There it is,” Christie said, pouncing when Rubio kept repeating the stock line. “There it is, the memorized 25-second speech.” Since then, Democrats have sent people in robot suits to Rubio events.

But while the attack appears to have severely damaged Rubio, who finished fifth, it failed to boost Christie.

Four years ago, Christie was seen as a rising star in the Republican party and was courted by donors and strategists who thought he would be a strong challenger to Obama. But his brand took a hit after the bizarre Bridgegate scandal in September 2013, when aides to the governor ordered the closure of an access lane to the George Washington Bridge, in an episode of apparent political retaliation against a Democratic mayor who wouldn’t endorse him.

Christie also had trouble with many conservatives who loathed Obama and could never forgive the governor for his friendly greeting of the president after Hurricane Sandy — a few days before the 2012 election.

By the time he entered the race, Christie was overshadowed by the fundraising juggernaut of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and then by Trump, who managed to out-do Christie’s own brand of frank pugnacity.

“The reality is that Trump out-Christied Christie, with his bombastic speech and his tell-it-like-it-is behavior,” said Brigid Callahan Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University.

“For voters among whom that had some appeal, there was another celebrity candidate to do that.”

Christie now faces two years left in his term in a state with deep financial problems. To make things harder, he no longer can count on any political leverage with Democratic legislators. The governor’s approval rating in the state is around 33%, half of what it was at his peak, Harrison said.

Christie might have had a decent shot to win the GOP nomination four years ago, when he turned down entreaties from prominent Republican figures who wanted him to run, Harrison said.

“He thought that moment could be replicated,” she said. “The reality was, that was his moment, and he didn’t have the confidence in himself to take that chance.”

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