The departure of the former New Jersey governor from the race is widely seen as a surprise
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie has ended his Republican presidential bid, just days before the opening caucuses in Iowa.
Mr Christie told supporters at a New Hampshire town hall meeting on Wednesday he had come to the conclusion that he had no pathway to victory.
“Campaigns are run to win. That’s why we do them,” he said. “It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination.”
He has cast his decision as part of an effort to prevent former president Donald Trump being re-elected.
“My goal has never been to be just a voice against the hate and division and the selfishness of what our party has become under Donald Trump,” he said.
“I am going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be president of the United States again. And that’s more important than my own personal ambition.”
Mr Christie did not immediately endorse any of rivals, whom he has criticised throughout the campaign for failing to directly target Mr Trump for fear of alienating the front-runner’s loyal supporters.
He was overheard on a hot mic before the event began criticising former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“She’s going to get smoked,” he said in an audio broadcast on the campaign’s livestream feed. “She’s not up to this.”
He was also overheard saying Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had called him, petrified he was about to endorse Mrs Haley, but the audio was cut before he finished the thought.
Mrs Haley responded in a statement calling Mr Christie “a friend for many years,” and commending him “on a hard-fought campaign.”
Mr DeSantis posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he agreed with Mr Christie that his rival would “get smoked.”
Mr Christie’s dropout comes as a surprise, given the former governor had staked his campaign on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, which is less than two weeks away.
He had insisted on Tuesday night that he had no plans to leave the race, continuing to cast himself as the only candidate willing to tell the truth and directly take on the former president.
“I would be happy to get out of the way for someone who is actually running against Donald Trump,” he said at a town hall in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Published: by Radio NewsHub