GOP Donors Responding to Christie

February 18, 2014

Heather Haddon and Derek Kravitz | February 17, 2014 | Wall Street Journal

Donations to the Republican Governors Association from New Jersey have grown sharply since 2009, a sign of Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts to recruit contributions for an influential group that could nurture a 2016 presidential run.

New Jersey donors gave more than $2.6 million to the RGA last year, the largest total in a decade, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal and the Center for Responsive Politics. The second-highest contributions total from New Jersey— about $2 million—came in 2009, the year Mr. Christie first ran for governor.

Those donations came before a scandal erupted in January over the governor’s staff and allies orchestrating the closure of some George Washington Bridge lanes, causing five days of traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J. The state Legislature and the U.S. attorney’s office are investigating. Mr. Christie has apologized and fired a top aide, while denying he knew about the lane closures before they happened.

The scandal doesn’t appear to have affected Mr. Christie’s ability to raise money. The RGA raised $6 million in January, a record for that month, the group said. Mr. Christie has raised $15 million for the organization since he was elected chairman.

“Governor Christie is a strong and effective fundraiser for the RGA,” said Phil Cox, the group’s executive director, in a written response to questions. “Donors across the country continue to respond to his leadership.”

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