By JONATHAN MARTIN & MAGGIE HABERMAN & ALEXANDER BURNS
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided against entering the race for president, likely ending once and for all the GOP establishment’s hope for a new candidate in the 2012 race.
Christie has scheduled a 1 p.m. press conference in his state’s capital, where he’s expected to announce that he will not seek the presidency. Two sources said he has started informing people of his decision in advance of his Trenton press conference.
“He is not running,” said a fundraiser informed of the decision. “Mary Pat and the gov just called tier one [donor] group to say he was out.”
The first-term governor, who has repeatedly ruled out a White House bid over the last year, indicated new openness in recent days to a possible run.
Christie would have been favored to win an enormous amount of support from national Republican power brokers who to date have been dissatisfied with the Republican field.
His stature had been effectively keeping a cadre of major New York and New Jersey contributors on the sidelines as they awaited his decision. Now his would-be financial backers may feel pressure to choose between the field of declared Republican candidates, which is unlikely to grow at this late date.
Christie’s decision leaves the Republican nomination fight as a choice between two frontrunners – Mitt Romney and Rick Perry – who are both seen as flawed in the eyes of many party regulars.
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