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Chris Christie Ends 2016 Presidential Bid After Disappointing New Hampshire Primary Finish

Once lauded as a party savior, Christie failed to gain traction for his bid but helped stall the momentum of rival Marco Rubio.
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will end his presidential bid after a disappointing sixth place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary.

The campaign announced Christie's decision through NBC News.

"[W]hile running for president I tried to reinforce what I have always believed - that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation," he said in a statement to reporters. "That message was heard by and stood for by a lot of people, but just not enough and that’s ok."

"I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win and what that means is you never know what will happen. That is both the magic and the mystery of politics - 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. 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 and his wife Mary Pat returned home from New Hampshire earlier in the day and spent time reaching out to friends and supporters.

Late Tuesday night, Christie had 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.

The day-long delay in formally announcing his departure from the race was in part due to waiting for the nearly 50 staffers to come together in New Jersey for a personal meeting where Christie could give his thanks directly.

Advisers involved in Christie's fundraising effort had said the campaign had enough funds to participate in the coming South Carolina primary, but needed good news to sell to donors. A sixth place showing in New Hampshire signaled that fundraising and momentum would not pick up.

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.

Related: Chris Christie Heads Home to Weigh 2016 Campaign's Future

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.

He began gaining traction in New Hampshire, but his breakout moment came too early perhaps, when a video of Christie talking about addiction went viral. His debate performances received praise but did not move pull numbers enough to show Christie could be competitive.

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.