New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is going to find it challenging to kick-start any presidential campaign because he needs the backing of the same donor base that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, are already tapping into, according to Politico
"I think Christie is the odd man out right now. He's in serious trouble," an anonymous Wall Street executive told Politico.
Another added, "I like him, and under other circumstances, I could support him. But not with Mitt and Jeb in the race. And Christie has so many other issues."
The New Jersey governor still does not have the Bridgegate scandal behind him — if anything, the investigation now reportedly extends to his 2013 re-election campaign, according to Politico. There is also the matter of the comparatively sluggish New Jersey economy
The question for the New Jersey governor is whether he can catch up with Bush and Romney, who have both made it clear they are actively exploring a presidential run, according to Politico.
The governor appears set to appoint Ray Washburne as his finance chairman. He is working on establishing a leadership PAC, and he is spending more time on the campaign trail.
Christie's natural source of major campaign dollars is the metro-New York area. Since he is not expected to step down as governor, big donors who might do business with his state would be barred from contributing to his campaign.
In Texas, Washburne would be competing for big money with the Bush family, which has strong roots in the Lone Star State, according to Politico.
Christie backers point out that as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he brought into over $100 million helping the GOP win races in states that typically lean Democratic. As a result, says political strategist Anthony Carbonetti, Christie "has created a vast network of national fundraisers to tap into."
They also say that Romney's prospective candidacy appears to be generating limited enthusiasm. And that key mega-donors not already committed to Bush might yet come around to backing Christie.
Critics say that Romney's prospective entry does not diminish Christie's chances because, according to Jonathan Tobin writing in Commentary
, they were always "lousy."
Christie's odds are less hurt by the prospect of Romney joining the fray then by the perception that he is the "least conservative in the field," according to Tobin.
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