Christie leaves campaign trail to return to N.J. ahead of winter storm

Story highlights

  • "I'm sorry, NH but I gotta go home - we got snow coming. #Jonas," Christie tweeted
  • Christie had faced multiple questions about staying on the campaign trail as a storm forecast to be record-breaking took aim for parts of his state

Washington (CNN)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday announced he would leave the campaign trail and return to his home state amid a historic blizzard, after facing criticism for putting politics ahead of his day job.

Christie fired off a series of tweets Friday afternoon saying he was putting being governor first but promising to return to New Hampshire to campaign soon.
"I'm sorry, NH but I gotta go home - we got snow coming. #Jonas," he tweeted, referring to the nickname of the winter storm.
Christie was in New Hampshire and had been scheduled to be there through the weekend.
"I want to make sure the people of my state feel safe and secure," he wrote. "But I will be back, because I am able to do both things. The fact is - you are never not the governor," he added, finishing: "I will be going home this afternoon, but (his wife) Mary Pat is staying."
Christie had faced multiple questions about staying on the campaign trail as a storm forecast to be record-breaking took aim for parts of his state. Thursday night and Friday morning, he had maintained that he was monitoring the situation from New Hampshire and would adjust his plans as necessary.
"Remember what I said yesterday. I said that I am monitoring this on a regular basis and I will make the decision that is the appropriate decision I have to make when I have to make it," Christie told reporters earlier Friday. "So we have another weather call in about two hours and I'll make a decision at that time as to what I'm going to do as we get a better handle on it."
"Despite all the different reports that said I made the decision, all I said was I had no plan to leave," Christie added. "But what I also said at the time was when I had enough information to make a decision I was comfortable with, I'd make a decision."
It's not Christie's first experience with the politics of natural disasters in his state. When Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Garden State in fall 2012, his impassioned defense of residents and criticism of Congress' response to the devastating storm built up his prominence.
Christie's reaction to that natural disaster helped cement his reputation as a practical, no-nonsense Republican -- but he also drew criticism from party members for embracing President Barack Obama on an airport tarmac in New Jersey and praising him for his response to the storm just days before Obama's 2012 reelection.
New Jersey is on the outer edges of the storm's projected path, but could see substantial coastal flooding and high wind gusts.
Christie joked about the impending storm with reporters in New Hampshire, saying he was confident New Jersey could handle the weather.
"Now there's nothing to be nervous about in New Jersey," Christie said. "It looks like it's going to be a pretty manageable storm."
He added that New Jerseyans "get nervous" when he's not around during such incidents. "I don't quite know exactly how that works, but they feel comforted by my presence," he said.
He joked that he likely would have faced criticism had he stayed on the trail, and will probably face it now and when he returns to the stump, too.
The decision was made after his 11 a.m. briefing, he said.
Christie is banking on a strong finish in the New Hampshire primary in two weeks to keep alive his 2016 presidential hopes. The governor has been in the back of the pack in national polling, but has shown signs of life in New Hampshire surveys and has scored high-profile endorsements there.