Republicans Challenge Chris Christie's Move Not To Fund NY Race

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 11:45 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Republican National Governor's Chairman Chris Christie said while he supports GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino's campaign to unseat Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, he has no plans to "invest" Republican Governors Association resources in the race, reports NJ.com.

While Christie has rebuffed calls to lend financial assistance to Astorino, his predecessor at the RGA, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, has agreed to host a fundraiser for Astorino on Oct. 16, reports the New York Post.

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“Governor Jindal believes this race is winnable by Rob, and he wants to come in, and he’ll be doing the fundraising event for us,’’ Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud told The Post.

Other GOP governors also plan to raise funds, including Mike Pence of Indiana, Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who has already held one fundraiser for Astorino, officials said

Jindal, Perry, Walker and Pence are potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Since he assumed the chairmanship of the RGA, Christie has repeatedly defended his decision not to put money toward the race. With Astorino 37 points down in the polls, Christie has said the RGA doesn't "invest in lost causes."

However, two weeks after he insisted he would not comment about the controversial decision, the New Jersey governor told reporters he might change his mind if Westchester County Executive Astorino draws closer to Cuomo.

“All I’ve done is said I’m not going to invest money in a race that’s a 35-point race. If Mr. Astorino makes the race close, then we’ll consider investing there. But he’s got to do it and so, of course, I support Astorino, but the fact is my job as RGA chairman is to invest our money in the places where we have the best chance to win," said Christie, according to NJ.com.

Some are questioning the wisdom of not supporting Astorino's campaign, particularly with Cuomo's ethics being challenged.

"Christie has a convenient excuse, if you will, and that is that it is 2014, there are Republican governor races around the country,'' said Steven Malanga, a senior editor of City Journal and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, during an appearance Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"The national Republican party is saying that the Northeast is a lost cause. But it is not obviously a lost cause and Christie represents that better than anybody," said Malanga, who believes Christie may have spoken too soon. "Clearly with what's going on with Cuomo right now, if there's ever an opportunity it would be in the aftermath of this."

In an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," former New York Gov. George Pataki said Astorino is not a lost cause and noted his own comeback victory in 1994, in which he came from behind to beat three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, father of the current governor.

"I knew that I could win, and I think Rob can win," said Pataki, who noted Christie made his comments the day before the New York Times broke the story about Cuomo and the Moreland Commission. He added that the RGA should support all Republican candidates "in any way possible."

Cuomo led the Republican challenger by 37 percentage points the day Christie commented on the race, but the polls have tightened in recent weeks as Cuomo has found himself under federal investigation related to his handling of an ethics commission he created and subsequently disbanded.

In two of the three most recent polls, Cuomo has leads of 32 points and 31 points, but in a July CBS News/NYT/YouGov poll, his lead is 24 points, according to RealClearPolitics.com

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