Chris Christie continues to travel the nation even though some of his key supporters and donors may be starting to have some doubts about his chances in 2016. Just a few weeks ago, Republicans were flowing with joy over Chris Christie’s booming re-election. Now, suspicions about his potential as a candidate have been sliding into the thoughts of some patrons in important states, GOP fundraisers have said.
The celebrity governor from New Jersey has been in Chicago all day to raise funds for the group that he leads. While he gets the credit for tapping into deep pockets in fundraisers, the latest trip was meant as a victory lap showcasing the outspoken governor as a major player has triggered a different outlook.
Ann Herberger, a Florida based Republican fundraiser told reporters that Christie’s persona and New Jersey style can still pack a venue. Some donors though are concerned and are showing reservations about the governor’s chances due to “BridgeGate.” Some of Chris Christie’s donors are starting to doubt Christie’s chances in light of recent scandals.
Emails between a key adviser and a key Christie aide make the traffic stopping lane closures look like political payback for a mayor’s choice to not back Christie’s re-election. Although Christie terminated both the aide as well as the advisor, he continually denied any knowledge of the plan until the correspondence went public.
Many potential donors with deep pockets are now looking twice at Christie, Herberger said. Where people were viewing Christie as “their guy” a few months ago, now many people are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Setting Christie’s political aspirations aside, the Republican Governor’s Association has accumulated $15 million in two months when Christie was tapped as chairman.
Despite the successful fundraising, there is no dodging the question facing the presidential hopeful. In New Jersey, the governor’s representatives were going to lawmakers to see if Christie’s fundraisers could also raise surplus funds to cover the expenses connected to the subpoenas related to the traffic snarl.
Motorola CEO Greg Brown will be moderating a question-and-answer session which will be the first public emergence since January 9 when Christie addressed the press about the lane closings. Dinner Tuesday will find Christie the guest of billionaire Ken Griffin and Griffin’s wife.
Democrats are trying to keep the public focused on Christie’s problems. They have sent former Ohio Governor Ted Strockland to hold meetings with the press in Chicago. Democrat operatives have noticed that GOP Rick Perry and Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott have stayed away from Christie’s events over the past week.
Despite the absence of some key Republicans, Christie has managed to remain a sought-after figure in parts of the national party donor support network. The Florida and Pennsylvania Governors are welcoming Christie’s help as each face an uphill struggle in 2014. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who is seen as a sure thing for re-election, is standing by Christie as well.
While many of Chris Christie’s donors and supporters may be rethinking their position, Branstad spoke up on behalf of Christie last week saying that he feels Christie should get the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty.
By Jerry Nelson