Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will attend a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association meeting in Boston this week with embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Romney’s attendance at the Thursday fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by an aide, is a signal to the party’s donor class that he is standing by Christie as he fights to weather the fallout from the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal. Aides to Christie allegedly conspired to shut a lane of the bridge in September out of apparent political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.
Christie has come under pressure as chairman of the RGA to step aside due to the distractions of the scandal. Meanwhile, he has launched an aggressive fundraising schedule to raise money to elect other Republican governors.
The New Jersey governor is looking to follow in the footsteps of Romney, who used his RGA chairmanship in 2006 as a springboard for a campaign for higher office. The RGA has brought in more than $18 million since Christie took the helm of the group last November, setting a new fundraising record for the organization.
But outside of the fundraising events, Christie has kept a low profile. Appearing at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, Christie ducked reporters’ questions. He will not attend a planned RGA press conference on Monday or a dinner at the White House on Sunday night, instead returning to New Jersey on Sunday to celebrate his daughter Sarah’s 18th birthday.
Lis Smith, an advisor to the Democratic Governors Association, attacked Christie for appearing with Romney, noting that GOP gubernatorial candidates have avoided appearing publicly with Christie since the scandal.
Romney and Christie remain friendly, despite staff-level sour grapes from the 2012 campaign over scheduling and Christie’s embrace of President Barack Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.