New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced at a news conference Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2012.
Christie, 49, said Tuesday that he felt an obligation to reconsider his repeated statements he would not make a White House run. Party leaders in recent weeks have lobbied him to re-evaluate that position and he spent the weekend considering a late entry into the field.
He said he wants to remain governor of New Jersey—but isn't ruling out a future White House run.
"I've explored the options," Christie said. "But in the end, what I've always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. Now is not my time."
If he had run, he would have faced the challenge organizing a national campaign and building a fund-raising network just three months before voting begins. "This is not the time to leave unfinished business, the stakes are too high, the consequences are too real," he said.
Christie's decision could benefit former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney because the two would have been competing for the same middle-of-the-road establishment Republicans.
Many activists had wanted Christie to run because he is an electrifying presence and has a strong fiscal record in New Jersey.
The blunt governor also told his constituents: "Whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."