Updated at 1:21 pm ET
Chris Christie today announced that he has decided against a bid for the presidency.
Speaking at a news conference in Trenton, Christie cast the decision as a duty to maintain his commitment to the people of New Jersey.
In the end, what I’ve always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. Now is not my time. I have a commitment to the people of New Jersey that I simply will not abandon. People sent me to Trenton to get a job done, and I’m just not prepared to walk away.
Christie has long agonized that he may not be ready to be president.
His straight-shooting, tough talking persona would have made a stunning contrast with Republican front runner Mitt Romeny and with President Obama if Christie had captured the nomination.
But Republicans have tended to swoon over their candidates and then become disenchanted, and Christie’s style might easily have worn thin as the campaign ground on. And many GOP primary and caucus voters might have become disenchanted when they discovered some of his positions, such as his statement that “it’s time to defer to the experts” who believe man-made global warming is real, his comments supportive of illegal immigrants, and so forth.
Christie had insisted for months, sometimes in colorful terms, that he was a no-go, issuing statements like this one in Washington this past February.
What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running? You have to believe in your heart soul and mind that you’re ready. And I don’t believe that in myself right now.
But with Rick Perry stumbling, attention went back to Christie, as Republicans seeking a credible challenger to Mitt Romney implored him to reconsider.
It now looks as if the Republican field is set unless Sarah Palin finally makes a decision. She had said she would decide by the end of September, but has push that back to November.
Palin’s unserious approach and lack of strong support among Republicans means that the money people who have been on the sidelines will not wait for her.
A lot of cash will now start flowing to Romney, viewed by many as the safe choice. Perry and Herman Cain also should see some filling of their coffers, especially if Perry rebounds and Cain continues his recent surge. The second-tier candidates will increasingly be marginalized.