By Matt Rooney | Cross-Posted at The Save Jersey Blog
There’s zero doubt in my mind that Mitt Romney was the biggest beneficiary of Chris Christie’s decision to take a pass on the presidential race, Save Jerseyans. Zip. Nada.
Let’s face facts: the GOP is staring down an internal culture divide heading into January. Christie-inclined voters are largely concentrated outside of Dixie, making them far more likely to gravitate towards a guy named “Willard” than most of the Yankee businessman’s countrified competitors. Every poll featuring a “with Christie” component invariably demonstrated a modest but significant bump for Romney when Christie was removed as an option.
But while popular support is nice (and crucial, in the final analysis), access to campaign financing networks is even better at this stage of the game. Towards that end, Mitt got a huge boost when Christie bowed out Tuesday afternoon.
A ton of Republican cash had been sitting on the shelf waiting for the Big Guy to make a move. Just hours after New Jersey Governor’s “I’m out” presser, the kingpin of the draft Christie movement – Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone – formally switched his allegiance to the former Massachusetts Governor. According to Capital New York, he was joined shortly thereafter by Republican super-bundlers Georgette Mosbacher and John Catsimatidis. That’s a multi-million dollar payday. Not too shabby, even for a well-heeled man like the Mittster!
Don’t be surprised to see more support for Romney coming from closer to the Christie inner-circle as the days and weeks progress. He’s already raised over $400,000 from New Jersey this cycle; Ron Paul is the next closest Republican candidate at $58k.
High level NJGOP pols like Asm. Jay Webber (R-Morris) and state Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) were enthusiastic Romney boosters back in 2008. Romney has also spent considerable amounts of time and money on New Jersey candidates over the years; his PAC gave $25,000 to the NJGOP to aid with the upcoming state leg races. He’s helped congressional candidates, too, and stumped for the Governor in 2009… as evidenced by the photo of Mitt and your Blogger-in-Chief posted above.
All in all, Mitt Romney probably feels like giving Governor Christie a big ole bear hug this morning. My prediction? Governor Christie may be ready to return his affections in the very near future.
Matt Rooney is a New Jersey attorney, conservative activist and the founder & Blogger-in-Chief of New Jersey’s #1 conservative blog, Save Jersey. You can learn more about Matt and the Christie Revolution by visiting today!