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Christie Weighs In On GOP South Carolina Race As Perry Suspends Campaign

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Presidential candidates (L-R) Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul on Jan 16, 2012 in Myrtle Beach. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Presidential candidates (L-R) Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul on Jan 16, 2012 in Myrtle Beach. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the other Republican candidates should consider conceding if Mitt Romney wins in South Carolina.

Already the race is narrowing.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he is suspending his campaign and dropping out of the race just days before the South Carolina primary and is endorsing Newt Gingrich.

“I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat,” Perry said at a news conference Thursday at a hotel in North Charleston. “As I have contemplated the future of this campaign, I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward in this campaign.”

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Perry’s decision came shortly after Christie discussed the race while appearing on “CBS This Morning” earlier Thursday morning.

During his interview with Erica Hill and Charlie Rose, Christie said he believes Romney, his preferred candidate, could end up on top in the Palmetto State.

“This is crunch time and all the other people in this race know that if Mitt Romney wins in South Carolina, this very well could be over,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials in Iowa have revealed that Rick Santorum edged Romney by 34 votes in the final tally of the Iowa caucuses.

The certified results show Santorum with 29,839 votes and Romney at 29,805. Ron Paul finished with 26,036.

Until now, Romney was thought to be the winner by eight votes, but GOP officials say no winner will be declared because there are votes missing from eight precincts.

Romney called the results a “virtual tie” in a statement and praised Santorum’s “strong performance” in Iowa.

A new poll out this morning also finds that Gingrich is cutting into Romney’s lead in South Carolina, trailing him now by seven points with two days to go before the primary.

The GOP presidential candidates will meet again Thursday night in a debate at the College of Charleston.

Voters will head to the polls in South Carolina on Jan. 21.

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