Washington (CNN) – It appears the George Washington Bridge controversy that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's been dealing with back home in the Garden State hasn't affected his standing nationally as one of the Republican Party's most potent fundraising rainmakers.
The Republican Governors Association announced Thursday that the group has raised a record $23.5 million the first three months of this year, and $33 million since Christie took over as RGA chairman in late November. That's a new fundraising record for the first four and a half months of a new RGA chairman's tenure.
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The $23.5 million raised in this year's first quarter shatters the previous RGA record of $9.1 million brought in during the first three months of 2010 under the chairmanship of then-Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
"While Washington is broken, Republican governors are getting results, making government work and putting policies in place to put their states on the right track," said Christie in a statement. "Republican governors have done more than just talk about reforming government, they have made the tough decisions and gotten results. Thanks to the hard work and success of every Republican governor, we have the resources we need to win these critical elections."
Christie's chairmanship of the RGA was seen as a possible stepping stone to a potential 2016 bid for the GOP presidential nomination. But six weeks into his tenure as RGA chairman, the bridge controversy went viral. State lawmakers and the U.S. Attorney's Office are looking into allegations that top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams last September by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee to politically punish that town's mayor for not endorsing the governor's re-election.
Christie has denied knowing anything about the gridlock until after it occurred, and has said he knew nothing about any political mischief by members of his administration.
Last week a review commissioned by Christie's administration cleared the New Jersey governor of any wrongdoing in the bridge controversy, which has put a cloud over his political future.
But the scandal and the intense scrutiny by the national media that Christie's come under may be helping him with some in his party, especially from the conservative base, that have long been suspicious about politically pragmatic governor from a blue state.
"Christie remains popular among Republicans, many of whom see the attacks on him as partisan efforts to destroy a popular GOPer. That's why he remains a formidable fundraiser for the RGA and an asset to his party," Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, told CNN.
Republicans are defending 22 of the 36 gubernatorial seats up for grabs this November. The party could face challenging re-election bids in Pennsylvania, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, states all won by President Barack Obama in 2012.
The RGA will also report Thursday that it has just shy of $60 million cash on hand, nearly double what it had in the bank at this point in the 2010 midterm cycle.
RGA Executive Director Phil Cox said that the "RGA's strong financial position will give us the resources to push back against the public sector unions and the White House, who have targeted Republican governors and candidates for defeat."
The East Coast Kingfish will be smoked in a national election .
Its funny there was a time when 33m was a big number. Now a days in order to be able to defend yourself from other challengers to your seat require a whole lot more. There is no way 33m even comes close to being enough to fight off the big dogs, let alone the little dogs nipping at his heels and his governorship. Especially if Gov Christie decides to run for the presidency, which I hear is easily going to require 1.5b.
$33 Million is how much tax payer money Christie is spending on his extreme make over to try and get himself into the Whitehouse. Remember his wasteful spending by not combining the Booker election with his re-election campaiggn? Recall his recent, million dollar whitewash "investigation & report"? We don`t want this bully, nor anyone of his ilk, picking the sucessor to Ginsburg, Scalia, Thomas, etc.
To coin a left-wing line, ...it appears the main stream media "is on the wrong side of this story". Journalist should be investigating thee money behind who keeps driving the narrative.... probably tied to a left wing ideology afraid of the 2016 presidential challenge.
-ten years ago, he was a pauper, now has 33 million. How?
Just like in the animal kingdom, Republicans always circle around and protect the wounded moose.
hahahaha... Looks like the Democrat smear machine is having the opposite affect of what they intended. Like I have said before, Christie will emerge from this as an even more formidable candidate because he will have withstood a direct frontal attack by the Democrat smear machine, and destroyed it.
Good job Democrats, keep up the good work.
Well when your governments policy makers are for sale, they're be plenty of buyers, but seriously, think they should disclose how much, and more importantly, from whom. Foreign money should be banned, why can't we learn from older countries who have withstood this problem. How bad will it get before we unite for all our sakes, we fight, they win.