Results from New Hampshire have culled an unwieldy field of contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. After dismal showings, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina have announced they are leaving the race.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former business chief Carly Fiorina are dropping out of the US presidential race a day after their poor performances in the country's first primary. Their decisions to bow out of the race leave some wondering who will challenge Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
Christie finished a distant sixth, with less than 7.5 percent of the vote from the New Hampshire primary despite having spent months crisscrossing the small state in a vigorous campaign.
Meanwhile, Fiorina's performance was worse. She finished behind Christie, in seventh place, with just over 4 percent of the vote. Fiorina's candidacy was seen by many observers as little more than a long-shot bid.
In the Facebook post where Fiorina announced she was quitting the race she took a parting shot and implored female voters not to vote for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, though Fiorina did not mention Clinton by name.
"To young girls and women across the country, I say: do not let others define you," Fiorina wrote. "Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you're a woman."
An establishment candidate
Unlike Fiorina, Christie was an establishment candidate and, at times, even considered a favorite to win the Republican nomination. In a Facebook post, Christie said he was leaving the race "without an ounce of regret."
"While running for president, I tried to reinforce what I have always believed - that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation," Christie said. "That message was heard by and stood for by a lot of people, but just not enough and that's OK."
The image he sought to create for his candidacy was of a moderate governor who could work across party lines to get things done.
But by the time the campaign started, Christie's star had fallen considerably as his image was badly tarnished by scandal and the growing perception that rather than someone who could work with people he was, in fact, more of a bully.
More than anything, however, it was scandals that seemed to destroy his reputation and doom his chances at national office. In particular, his administration became ensnared in a bridge-closing scandal that left two of his top aides under criminal indictment.
bik/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)