Chris Christie suspends campaign

Updated 10:24 PM EST, Wed February 10, 2016
PHOTO: Nigel Parry for CNN
Now playing
01:51
Source: Chris Christie suspending presidential campaign
Governor Chris Christie intv newday_00000322.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
Governor Chris Christie intv newday_00000322.jpg
Now playing
00:36
Christie likens opioid crisis to AIDS epidemic
Chris Christie confronts heckling fan at baseball game ORIG TC_00000000.jpg
Chris Christie confronts heckling fan at baseball game ORIG TC_00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:55
Chris Christie confronts fan at baseball game
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie uses the beach with his family and friends at the governor's summer house at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey on July 2. Christie is defending his use of the beach, closed to the public during New Jersey's government shutdown, saying he had previously announced his vacation plans and the media had simply "caught a politician keeping his word."
PHOTO: Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media/AP
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie uses the beach with his family and friends at the governor's summer house at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey on July 2. Christie is defending his use of the beach, closed to the public during New Jersey's government shutdown, saying he had previously announced his vacation plans and the media had simply "caught a politician keeping his word."
Now playing
01:04
How Chris Christie reacted to the beach photos
Now playing
00:50
Christie: I'm happy Trump is vacationing in NJ
PALM BEACH, FL:  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie waits to be introduced to speak during the "Managing the Disruption" conference held at the Tideline Ocean Resort on April 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. The conference is put on by the Greene Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding, developing, and promoting strategies for increasing upward mobility in America.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
PALM BEACH, FL: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie waits to be introduced to speak during the "Managing the Disruption" conference held at the Tideline Ocean Resort on April 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. The conference is put on by the Greene Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding, developing, and promoting strategies for increasing upward mobility in America. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:22
Christie mocks newspaper that took beach photo
chris christie beached moos
PHOTO: Andrew Mills - NJ Advance Media/Barcroft Media
chris christie beached moos
Now playing
01:59
Christie caught on beach he closed to public
Now playing
03:09
Christie: Spent time with family, not tanning
Chris Christie
Chris Christie
Now playing
01:29
Chris Christie grades Trump's presidency
Now playing
01:07
Christie: I warned Trump about Flynn
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, running mate of Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, speaks during a rally at the SNHU Arena on November 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
PHOTO: Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, running mate of Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, speaks during a rally at the SNHU Arena on November 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Now playing
01:28
Mike Pence replaces Chris Christie as transition leader
bridgegate scandal orig_00000708.jpg
bridgegate scandal orig_00000708.jpg
Now playing
01:57
Bridgegate verdict: Guilty on all counts
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11:  Republican presidental nominee Donald Trump (L) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) attend the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Republican presidental nominee Donald Trump (L) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) attend the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:59
Trump purges ties to Chris Christie
HAMMONTON, NJ  - MARCH 29:  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at a Reform Agenda Town Hall meeting at the New Jersey Manufacturers Company facility March 29, 2011 in Hammonton, New Jersey. A State Supreme Court appointed judge ruled on March 22, 2011 that his eight percent education budget cuts last year had violated New Jersey law because the state was unable to fulfil it's educational obligations. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Getty Images
HAMMONTON, NJ - MARCH 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at a Reform Agenda Town Hall meeting at the New Jersey Manufacturers Company facility March 29, 2011 in Hammonton, New Jersey. A State Supreme Court appointed judge ruled on March 22, 2011 that his eight percent education budget cuts last year had violated New Jersey law because the state was unable to fulfil it's educational obligations. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:24
Ex-aide: Chris Christie approved bridge traffic study
chris christie trump birther intv sotu _00005119.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
chris christie trump birther intv sotu _00005119.jpg
Now playing
01:51
Christie makes false claim about Trump's birtherism
PHOTO: Burton/Getty Images/Zalubowski/AP
Now playing
01:54
Chris Christie: Trump's apology falls short
Chris Christie stare donald trump president pkg moos erin_00004429.jpg
PHOTO: From vine.com/Ronan Farrow
Chris Christie stare donald trump president pkg moos erin_00004429.jpg
Now playing
01:56
How Chris Christie's hostage face stole the show
rnc convention chris christie case against hillary clinton sot _00001325.jpg
rnc convention chris christie case against hillary clinton sot _00001325.jpg
Now playing
02:58
Chris Christie and RNC crowd: Hillary Clinton is guilty
Now playing
01:48
Christie endorsed by major New Hampshire paper

Story highlights

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie suspends his presidential bid Wednesday afternoon

The decision marks a sudden end for someone once seen as a potential front-runner

(CNN) —  

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire, he formally announced in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Christie made the announcement earlier on a call with his campaign. He staked his hopes on New Hampshire, but finished sixth on Tuesday night with just 7% of the vote.

“Today, I leave the race without an ounce of regret,” Christie wrote on Facebook.

The decision marks a sudden end for someone once seen as a potential front-runner. In the wake of the 2012 election, Christie appeared poised for a strong bid for the Republican nomination – he won a second term as the Republican governor of a blue state and led the Republican Governors Association, giving him a perch to travel the nation fundraising for other Republicans and building his stature.

But shortly after he was elected to his second term in November 2013, he was engulfed by the “Bridgegate” scandal. Emails and texts from top aides show they requested that two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge be shut down in September 2013, causing massive traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, after the town’s Democratic mayor declined to endorse Christie’s re-election.

A federal investigation determined that Christie had no knowledge of the decision to close the lanes, but the political damage was real. By the time he announced his bid at the end of June 2015, the damage from “Bridgegate” had many wondering whether his campaign was dead from the start.

But Donald Trump’s ascendance over the summer quickly sucked the air out of the room for almost any other political narrative, including “Bridgegate.”

Christie, meanwhile, embarked on a tenacious strategy focused almost exclusively on winning New Hampshire. By February 8, he had made 190 stops in New Hampshire, more than any other candidate, according to NECN’s candidate tracker.

That attention to the first-in-the-nation primary state paid off in December, when Christie won the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader. At the same time, he won 2016’s somewhat informal mark of arrival — withering attacks from Trump.

Christie often talked of his personal experience on September 11, 2001, waiting anxiously for his wife to return from lower Manhattan. But after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino last year, Christie began telling that personal story more, as well as playing up his experience as a federal prosecutor immediately after September 11.

But he still faced fallout among the Republican primary electorate after his warm welcoming of Obama in October 2012, after Hurricane Sandy walloped his state.

When pollster Frank Luntz replayed clips of the meeting for a focus group in New Hampshire, after the first Republican debate, Republicans in the room said they were still unhappy, three years later.

Throughout the race, Christie stood out for his blunt statements and a seeming inability to sugarcoat his assessments of the competition – and by February, Marco Rubio was bearing the brunt of it.

As the field moved from Iowa to New Hampshire, Rubio became the star following a breakout performance in the caucuses. But many candidates, including Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich had pinned their hopes on New Hampshire.

Christie took to mocking Rubio’s scripted style and work in Washington, calling him the “boy in the bubble” because, according to Christie, the Florida senator was too protected by staff.

In the eighth Republican debate, just a few days before the New Hampshire primary, it was Christie who knocked the air out of Rubio – and claimed his putdown as enough to earn a ticket out of New Hampshire.

“I think the whole race changed last night. Because you know there was a march among the chattering class to anoint Sen. Rubio,” Christie told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” one day after the debate. “I think after last night, that’s over. So I think there could be four or five tickets out of New Hampshire because the race is so unsettled now.”

CNN’s David Chalian contributed to this report.