Facebook's Zuckerberg to hold fundraiser for Chris Christie
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a high profile supporter of President Obama during the election campaign. But that won't stop him from holding a fundraiser for his favorite Republican: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The fund-raiser is another reminder of the hurdles Democrats face in attempting to defeat Mr. Christie, who faces re-election in November and is often mentioned as a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Mr. Christie has increasingly tried to position himself as a kind of crossbreed politician, apart from the partisan politics that plague Washington, and able to appeal to a constituency beyond the Republican Party regulars. He took leaders of his own party to task this month when they failed to call a vote on a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. His popularity has soared since the storm, even among Democrats - and apparently among at least some tech donors in Silicon Valley, where political contributions tend to flow toward more liberal causes.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Zuckerberg, who is the company's chief executive, said he and his wife admired the governor's work on education policy - Mr. Christie has pushed for vouchers, championed a new state law weakening tenure in public schools, and signed a contract with the teachers union in the state-run Newark schools that will allow performance bonuses. He also signed a law requiring teachers, among other public employees, to pay more toward their pension and benefits.
Mr. Zuckerberg showed his interest in education with a $100 million donation to the Newark schools in 2010. But he stood alongside a Democrat, Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark, as well as Mr. Christie to make that announcement. And he has made few political contributions - federal records show only a $10,000 donation to Facebook's political action committee.
Christie is a man with a plan for 2016. A "crossbreed" politician he may try to be, but that won't answer his need to capture a good part of the Republican base in order to win the nomination. Mr. Christie is already in trouble for his positions on gun control, immigration, and other hot button conservative issues. The question will be can his personae as a fighter and strong leader overcome some of his more problematic stances on matters near and dear to the heart of the GOP base.
I'm betting that it's possible. And he may just draw millions of new voters into the GOP because of it.