With Christie Under Fire, Republican Governors Have Big Fund-Raising Month

NY Times, Feb. 11, 2014

By Nicholas Confessore

The Republican Governors Association announced on Wednesday that it had set a January record for fund-raising, seeking to refute suggestions that the troubles of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey have scared away the group’s donors.

The announcement landed as Mr. Christie, the group’s chairman, arrived in Chicago on Tuesday for a public speech and a fund-raising dinner at the home of Kenneth C. Griffin, a top donor to the group. Democrats have tried to paint Mr. Christie as a liability to his party, pointing out that some Republican candidates have declined to appear with him on his recent fund-raising trips to Florida and Texas.

But if some donors are beginning to have doubts about backing the organization because of the New Jersey bridge scandal that has dogged Mr. Christie, it is not reflected in fund-raising last month. A spokesman for the group said it had raised $6 million — twice as much as the association has ever raised in January, including during the 2010 cycle, its best ever.

The announcement is unusual for the association, which is not required to report monthly fund-raising totals, underscoring the urgency with which the group has responded to questions about Mr. Christie. Even some Republicans have suggested that Mr. Christie step down and focus on New Jersey and his response to federal and state inquiries into political retaliation by his former aides and his administration’s handling of relief money for Hurricane Sandy.

In 2013, before the bridge scandal exploded, the Republican association raised $50 million, far more than the Democratic Governors Association.

“Donors are active because Republican governors are the leaders producing real results for their states,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the governors association, “implementing policies to create jobs, balancing budgets without raising taxes, improving education, and making their states more attractive to business.”

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