For Chris Christie, the 2016 race had been leading up to New Hampshire.
The New Jersey governor, and increasingly long-shot Republican presidential hopeful, had pinned his hopes on a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary. But on Tuesday evening, the results were disappointing for the governor. Donald Trump was declared the winner of the GOP primary shortly after the polls closed, a blow to Christie, who warned that a victory for the real-estate mogul could jeopardize the state’s first-in-the-nation primary status.
In fact, Christie won’t even finish in the top five, trailing Trump, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday evening, Christie announced that he’ll go home to New Jersey where he’ll wait to see how the final vote shakes out before making a decision about what comes next. He said he should be ready to make that decision tomorrow, and it sounds very likely that he may soon drop out of the 2016 race. The governor attempted to sound upbeat, but his disappointment shone through: “We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters,” Christie said. “That 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, not enough tonight.”
A dismal showing in New Hampshire is a blow for the governor who had hoped to ride a wave of momentum after a strong performance in the recent GOP debate held in Manchester. Christie’s breakout moment arrived when he went after Rubio, accusing the senator of rigidly sticking to script. The critique went viral, with “MarcoBot” videos popping up across the Internet. Christie pointed to the confrontation as a pivotal moment.
“Saturday night changed everything,” he gushed to Today after the debate. And CNN reported roughly two-thirds of GOP primary voters were influenced by recent debates. But while Christie may have taken Rubio down a peg, it seems he didn’t do much to improve his own standing with voters.
The governor attempted to put things in perspective on Tuesday after results had started to trickle in. “I have both won elections that I was supposed to lose, and I’ve lost elections I was supposed to win. What that means is you never know,” he said. “It’s both the magic and the mystery of politics that you never quite know which is going to happen.” Read more from Clare Foran at THE ATLANTIC.