As a half-dozen possible candidates jockey for position in the GOP race for the presidency, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is trailing the field while losing donors and backers due to his perceived arrogance, The New York Times
Although it’s still in the early stages of the run for the White House, his competitors have already made major strides with fundraising events, signing up mega donors and enlisting major endorsements in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Christie, however, has turned off supporters by failing to return calls, showing up late for meetings, acting as though there’s still plenty of time to step up the pace, and not even asking people to support him, the newspaper says.
"Christie’s view of his status and pre-eminence within the Republican field is increasingly at odds with the picture outside his inner circle," write political reporters Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore, noting that "the complaints have piled up for weeks, dismaying longtime supporters."
The Times' writers said his attitude has driven supporters into the arms of rivals, adding, "Policy advisers, donors and even a prominent New Jersey state senator who met his wife through Mr. Christie have all flirted with or committed to rival candidates."
Citing interviews with 25 GOP donors and strategists, the report claims that billionaire Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, plans to back former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush instead of Christie, a longtime friend but also a supporter of the Dallas Cowboys.
On Wednesday, Johnson even showed his hand by attending Bush’s fundraising events in Chicago
, and Bush mentioned him by name.
People close to the governor blame "the Christie bubble" for his problems, saying that his inner circle is protecting him "too closely from the realities of a competitive national campaign," according to the Times.
"Christie is a very popular figure, but he’s made a mistake by not creating the necessary momentum for the kind of national organization you need to be successful," said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York hedge fund manager now backing Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. "He’s not touching enough people. And I think this is a classic rookie mistake."
The newspaper says that the governor has been slow to tie up supporters within the GOP’s list of prominent "bundlers," and it is not known how much money his new leadership political action committee has accrued in its presidential war chest.
But supporters say that there is still plenty of time for Christie to get his campaign up and running, and there’s still plenty of money waiting in the wings.
"The fact is, there is not a finite pool of donors as some seem to suggest," said Mike DuHaime, a top adviser to Christie. "An essential part of Governor Christie’s appeal is his ability to bring new people into the political process, whether they be donors or activists.
"He has proven this ability time and again in the past, winning handily in a blue state. If he decides to run, it is clear he will have the resources to run an aggressive, winning race."
Christie, at least, seems to have wealthy Kenneth Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot, on board.
"Some guys move from Christie to Bush? That’s politics," said Langone, Christie’s leading supporter among New York donors, according to the Times.
Langone revealed that the governor’s leadership PAC is pulling in the cash, with several donors sending checks from outside Christie’s main base in New York and New Jersey.
"I’ve never had anyone say no," Langone said.
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