Walker Still on Team Christie

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 10:17 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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As the chorus grows for embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to cede his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he has an ally in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to Politico.

Walker, who like Christie is considered to be a contender for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination, is standing by the Garden State's top boss, unless or until he sees evidence that his colleague was involved in the bridge-closing scandal currently overshadowing Christie's once bright political star.

"He told me the same thing in private that he did to the press in New Jersey, and I have every reason to believe that the information he said is consistent with the truth, and so I still support him in his role as governor and his role in the RGA," Walker said at a Madison, Wis. economic conference Wednesday.

While many in the GOP think Christie's problems could give Walker a boost on the national scale, Walker made clear that he is not looking beyond 2014 and encouraged others not to either.

"Any Republican who's focused on anything other than 2014 is doing a disservice to themselves, to their party and to their country," Walker said. "There's a lot at stake in the 2014 election, not only in my case as governor but in the U.S. Senate is very much in play and the question of holding the House or not."

Many within the Republican Party have been calling for Christie to step down from the RGA, arguing that the bridge scandal is a distraction from his duty to fill the coffers of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Though he is being treated like a pariah at many fundraising events across the country — many candidates are opting not to appear with him — Bridge-gate doesn't seem to have fazed donors, CBS News reports.

The RGA raised $6 million in January, more than twice as much than has ever been raised during the same month in the group's history, CBS notes.

The RGA had high hopes when it elected Christie to become its 2014 chairman.

"Governor Christie is one of our party's strongest, most effective leaders," RGA Executive Director Phil Cox said in a statement at the time.

"In a critical year with 36 governor's races, Republican governors welcome his leadership as Chairman of the RGA, and recognize that his record of accomplishment, broad political appeal, and tireless work ethic will be a tremendous asset in helping to win elections and advancing a message of growth, reform, and results."

Though Democrats, New Jersey's Star-Ledger newspaper and fellow Republicans such as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli have all called for him to step aside, Christie maintains the support of some high-profile members of his party, including Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to CBS.

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