Governor Chris Christie told supporters that he would return to his home state to reassess his campaign before making a decision on whether to continue his presidential race.
“We’ve decided that we are going to go home to New Jersey tomorrow and we are going to take a deep breath,” Christie said, as the polls showed he was heading for a fifth- or sixth-place showing.
“There’s no reason to go to sit in a hotel in South Carolina to do that,” he said, adding that he and his family actually needed a “fresh set of clothes.”
With 71 percent reporting, Christie was then in sixth place in New Hampshire with only 7.6 percent of the vote.
The New Jersey governor, arguably the most charismatic of the three governors in the race, needed a huge comeback in New Hampshire to propel his campaign forward.
“The people of New Hampshire’s Republican party tonight has spoken very clearly that Mr. Trump is their preference in this selection and he deserves congratulations for that,” Christie said.
Christie spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate, peaking in December when he came in second in the race in the WMBR poll.
Sen. Marco Rubio’s super PAC took Chris Christie’s rise seriously, running ads in the state trashing the blue state governor for his record on issues like Common Core and expanding Medicaid.
Those ads aired in January, while Rubio began campaigning more vigorously in the state on a hopeful message, while his super PAC did the dirty work. Other super PACs, supporting Jeb Bush and John Kasich, joined the fight against Christie, punching holes in his record and raising questions about his viability as a candidate.
In response, a frustrated Chris Christie mocked the more disciplined Rubio in territory that he thought he had already wrapped up. Christie spent 72 days in the state, while Rubio only spent 28.
The shot from Rubio stuck with him — evident in his remarks on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning.
“The biggest attacker in this race has been Marco Rubio,” Christie said. “He puts that little smile on his face and then he sends the Super PAC out to cut peoples’ throats.”
The damage had already been done, but it was clear that Christie wanted political revenge in the week after Iowa. As soon as Rubio touched down in New Hampshire, Christie challenged reporters to shake Rubio off script and puncture the “bubble” of his disciplined campaign.
But that was only the warm-up act, as he thrashed Rubio thoroughly in the New Hampshire debate on Saturday before the election.
Christie successfully damaged Rubio’s inevitability and establishment coronation, opening up the race for the remaining governors in the race. Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished second place, while Jeb Bush appears to be getting fourth place.
With 77 percent reporting, Rubio ended up in fifth place, with only 10.4 percent of the vote.