Chris Christie drops out of race for president

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally suspended his presidential campaign today.

The New Jersey governor held a meeting with his campaign staff at 4pm this afternoon to thank them and announce the news, a spokesperson to the campaign confirms to ABC News.

The decision comes a day after the New Jersey governor came in a disappointing 6th place in New Hampshire, despite a heavy investment of time and funds into the first-in-the-nation primary contest.

"We bet the ranch on New Hampshire, and no one ever anticipated the Trump phenomenon," a source familiar with Christie's plans told ABC News. "He's a realist."

Christie launched his bid for the White House last June, encapsulating his straight-talking style with a campaign slogan of "Telling It Like It Is" and focused the majority of his efforts in New Hampshire, where he was hoping for a far better showing.

In 2012, he turned down calls to seek the presidency, saying at the time that he wasn't ready. Following his successful reelection in 2013, Christie was widely considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination this year. But his political capital was spoiled after scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Christie will return to New Jersey with almost two full years remaining in his second gubernatorial term.

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The Associated Press Contributed to this story
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