New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won’t run for president in 2012, citing his desire to continue his work in the Garden State in a press conference Tuesday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Perspectives on Leadership Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“Now is not my time” Christie said at a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey this afternoon. “I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon.”

Christie added that he “never really wanted” to reconsider his past refusals to run but that an overwhelming sentiment from ”people all over the country” forced him to rethink his plans.

He said his wife, Mary Pat, woke him up early one morning three weeks ago and told him that if he wanted to run, he should and that the family would be fine.

Christie was heavily courted to reconsider by large Republican donors as well as a handful of elected officials and party activists in key states. That recruitment process picked up steam following several mediocre debate performances by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, showings that raised doubts about his ability to unite the party and beat President Obama next fall.

His decision is the last major domino to fall in the Republican race, which has been defined by a series of rapid rises and falls (Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann being the best example) among conservative candidates and the courting of not-yet-candidates into the race.

(Prior to the Christie boomlet, Perry was widely regarded as the acceptable conservative alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.)

The lone figure yet to announce her plans for 2012 is former Alaska governor Sarah Palin who has pushed back her timeline to make a decision from September to November. Recent polling suggests, however, that Palin would enter the race as a second-tier candidate — at best.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll out this morning shows Romney leading the Republican field with 25 percent followed by Perry and businessman Herman Cain with 16 percent each.

In a matchup in which Christie was included, the New Jersey governor received ten percent support — good for fourth place.


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Results of Washington Post-ABC News Poll