Chris Christie Makes It Official, Again: He Isn’t Running

After three weeks of speculation, we're back where we started.

In the end, Chris Christie said that he hadn’t heard anything over the last three weeks that caused him to change his mind about not running for President:

He’s not running, and he says he means it this time.

At a jammed Statehouse news conference, Gov. Chris Christie announced today that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

“Now is not my time,” Christie said. “I’ve been adamant about the fact I would not run for President,” he said. “My job in New Jersey is my passion.

“New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me.”

His statement came after a week of relentless speculation, set off by a high-profile speech at the Reagan Presidential Library and intensified by an acknowledgement from advisers that he was reconsidering a candidacy after a year of refusals.

None of this is surprising, of course. Christie has made himself clear numerous times, and none of his public statements suggested that he was wavering in his decision. To the extent there was wavering, it was media driven for the most part. Christie said that he took the opportunity to reconsider his decision after being approached by many people, including unnamed high-ranking Republicans, who asked him to do so but that he didn’t find any reason to change his mind.

One thought is that Christie’s emphasis on his responsibilities to New Jersey is something of a rebuke, possibly not even an intentional one, to Sarah Palin., who is the only remaining major candidate who hasn’t made her intentions clear. Another thought is that we’ll be hearing from Christie again in the future.

To the extent this has an impact on the GOP field, it’s good news for Mitt Romney who likely would have been the candidate with the most to lose if Christie had entered the race. Now, with Christie off the field the donors and establishment Republicans who have been sitting on the sidelines trying to convince Christie to run will have to make a choice, and there really isn’t anyone in the field other than Romney that they’re likely to back. Herman Cain is too much of a gadfly to get real support from those types of Republicans, and the fact that he has no real campaign organization is going to be taken by them as a sign that he’s not really serious. Paul, Gingrich, Santorum, and Bachmann are never going to appeal to the establishment types for what I think are obvious reasons.

That leaves Perry and Romney.

Especially when it comes to the donors, the  kind of people that were behind the Christie speculation were the same people who were behind Rudy Giuliani in 2008. They’re fiscally conservative but more or less socially moderate. Between the two of them, it seems to me that Romney would be a more palatable candidate for them. More importantly, though, unless Perry can stop the bleeding in the poll numbers that was caused by his own mis-steps, it’s going to be hard to convince the big money guys to get behind him. More and more, Mitt Romney is looking like the guy that the GOP is going to inevitably, albeit reluctantly, turn to in the end.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Given how cement headed some on the right can be, and how loopey the liberal media always is, this announcement won’t entirely stop the Christie speculation.

    As for Christie himself there’s little doubt if Obama wins reelection that Christie will be a major candidate in 2016, provided of course he either wins reelection or that he avoids a potential loss by not running for a 2nd term.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Say this in your best dog-track annnouncer voice.
    “and here comes PALIN…”

  3. Nikki says:

    @Hey Norm: From your lips to [Your Spiritual Flavor]’s ears!

  4. EddieInCA says:

    Breaking news: “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!”

    You have to be of a certain age to get the joke.

  5. ponce says:

    Republican Primary Poll taken on October 3, 2007:

    Rudy Giuliani – 25%
    Fred Thompson – 22%
    John McCain – 12%
    Mitt Romney – 9%
    Mike Huckabee – 7%
    Newt Gingrich – 7%

  6. Hey Norm says:

    @ Nikki…
    I think you probably didn’t grasp the sarcasm. Or maybe it was I who missed your sarcasm?

    @ Everyone…
    Anyway…The thing that strikes me about this is that the GOP establishment is so dissatisfied with their candidates that they have ignored Christies repeated statements that he’s not running. I mean…this has been going on forever. Christie was exasperated back in February when he asked rhetorically if he needed to commit suicide to convince people he wasn’t running. So what does that say about the field? They must be pretty pathetic I guess.
    Actually I’m both suprised and impressed that he didn’t succumb to the flattery and the pressure. Maybe there’s more to this guy than I thought. I’ll have to keep an eye on him during Obama’s second term. Maybe I’ll vote Republican again in ’16.

  7. This isn’t 2008, as I’ve said several times here at OTB. Back then, there were several plausible frontrunners. Right now there are only two, maybe three.

  8. ponce says:

    Right now there are only two, maybe three.

    Is number three the 2008 Republican V.P. nominee?

    Or the guy who ran a discount pizza company?

  9. Hey Norm says:

    I think the Pizza Delivery guy is #2 right now isn’t he?

  10. Hey Norm says:

    “…businessman Herman Cain gets the top spot in three new surveys of GOP voters from Public Policy Polling (D), conducted in North Carolina, West Virginia and Nebraska…”

    I’m just sayin…

  11. Cain is a placeholder, not a serious contender

  12. Hey Norm says:

    @ Doug…
    Maybe yes, maybe no.
    There are a lot of people out there with tea bags dangling from their tricorns.
    Just remember…when you turn 999 (the name of his tax plan) upside down…it’s 666.

  13. At most the Tea Party constitutes 1/3 of the GOP, slightly more in some states, much less in others

  14. Hey Norm says:

    Doug…C’mon…the Tea Party is the Republican party.
    I can certainly understand why that would make you uncomfortable.
    But admitting there is a problem is the first step…

  15. jukeboxgrad says:

    At most the Tea Party constitutes 1/3 of the GOP, slightly more in some states, much less in others

    CNN, 9/15/11:

    roughly half (49 percent) of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they support the tea party movement or are active members

    And that half of the GOP is probably much more vocal, active, and likely to vote and contribute. So like it or not, the tea party is in charge of the GOP.

    This is reflected in the strong drive to find any alternative to Romney, and it’s reflected in the way the Perry bubble burst when people heard him talk about educating Mexicans.

  16. David says:

    For all the speculation and hopes, I don’t think Gov. Christie gets the nod if he ran this time. His social issue positions are not consistent with the religious wing of the party. At best he splits the more socially moderate vote with Gov. Romney and opens the door for Mr. Cain, or Gov. Perry.

  17. Fiona says:

    I think Christie’s smart to save himself for 2016. I do have to wonder if the current level of discontent with the Republican field will lead La Diva Palin to appoint herself as its savior and start running her own completely unconventional (snark) presidential campaign. She’s got to be happy to see Perry dropping like a stone in the polls and with no Christie to be the new “flavor of the week” she may finally see her opening.

    Then again, presidential campaign = work. She’d have to study for all those debates or risk her own series of Perry moments.