New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided not to run for president in 2012, according to a source informed of his thinking.
Christie has called a 1 p.m. press conference in Trenton to announce the decision. He acknowledged in recent days that he was reconsidering his repeated refusals in the past to take a pass on the race.
But Christie was also quite open about his doubts about his readiness for the race and the challenges inherent in starting so late in the presidential process.
Christie was heavily courted 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.