Both Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina announced Wednesday they are ending their campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination.
Christie called it quits after a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday.
The New Jersey governor made the decision after conferring with major donors. He concluded that he did not have the financial support to continue his campaign, reports CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, citing a senior campaign source.
Christie spent significant campaign resources on the New Hampshire primary, wooing voters and banking on the state’s famous friendliness to governors running for the GOP nomination. Last week, Christie received plaudits for his debate takedown of rival Marco Rubio in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he slammed the Florida senator for his automaton-like answers to moderators’ questions.
But on Tuesday night, Christie finished with just single-digit support, behind Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Rubio. After a poor showing in Iowa, Christie is the only candidate left running who has so far accumulated zero delegates.
Christie addressed his backers at a primary night event in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Thanking volunteers and supporters, Christie said he did “not regret one minute” of the time spent in the early-voting state.
“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 and it’s 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,” he said. “We leave New Hampshire tonight without an ounce of regret, not for the time we’ve spent, and for the thousands of people tonight in New Hampshire who will have voted for us. We thank each and every one of them.”
Of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Christie said he “deserves congratulations” for winning the support of Granite State voters.
Trump, for his part, told “CBS This Morning” that Christie had called to congratulate him, and said in an interview on Fox News, “Frankly, Chris is somebody that maybe wouldn’t have to get out. I think somebody like Jeb Bush has far less talent than Chris, and he’s still in so you know, it’s one of those things.”
The New Jersey Republican announced Tuesday that he would be heading back to his home state, instead of continuing on to campaign in South Carolina, the last primary state before March’s Super Tuesday contests.
Fiorina, a former technology executive, exited the race, after winning praise for her debate prowess but struggling to build a winning coalition in a crowded GOP field.
“While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them,” Fiorina wrote in a Facebook statement.
“I will continue to serve in order to restore citizen government to this great nation so that together we may fulfill our potential,” the statement said.
Fiorina, 61, entered the tumultuous Republican primary in April. She promoted herself as an outsider with business experience and argued that as the lone woman in the GOP field she was best positioned to oppose likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. After a standout performance in the first undercard debate, Fiorina rose to the mainstage and soared in the polls in the fall. But her momentum quickly stalled and by the end of the year she had dropped back down.
Fiorina won applause from women on both sides of the aisle in the second Republican debate in September when she was asked to respond to Donald Trump’s comments criticizing her face.
“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” Fiorina said calmly. Trump sought to smooth things over, saying “I think she’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman.”
Fiorina’s first major foray in to politics was in 2010, when she ran for Senate in California and lost to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer by 10 points.
Throughout her presidential bid, Fiorina emphasized her meteoric rise in the business world. A Stanford University graduate, she started her career as a secretary, earned an MBA and worked her way up at AT&T to become a senior executive at the telecom giant.
But she was also dogged by questions about her record at Hewlett-Packard, where she was hired as CEO in 1999. She was fired six years later, after leading a major merger with Compaq and laying off 30,000 workers.