First on CNN: RGA urged Astorino to avoid meeting after Christie clash
July 24th, 2014
11:46 AM ET
5 months ago

First on CNN: RGA urged Astorino to avoid meeting after Christie clash

Washington (CNN) — Rob Astorino, New York’s GOP candidate for governor, was urged not to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Aspen this week after publicly clashing with the group’s chairman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, over support for his underdog campaign, which Christie called “a lost cause.”

Astorino rebuffed the request — which was made by an unidentified RGA staffer who said the group wanted to “avoid conflict” at the meeting — and went ahead with an overnight trip to the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen to meet with donors and other governors, GOP sources familiar with incident told CNN.

In an effort to tamp down the controversy, the two Republicans came together during a dinner at an Aspen ranch on Wednesday evening in what one Astorino source described as “a very curt, brief meeting.”

“We kind of agreed to disagree on this one and we move on,” Astorino, the Westchester County Executive, said Thursday morning in an interview on Fred Dicker’s radio show in New York.

Christie sparked the high-profile Republican-on-Republican flame war on Monday when he pointedly dismissed Astorino’s underdog campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Asked by a reporter if the RGA would support Astorino in the New York race, Christie answered with characteristic bluntness: “We don’t invest in lost causes,” he said.

The comment enraged Astorino and his campaign, long suspicious that Christie is trying to protect Cuomo on the sly this year. Though a Democrat, Cuomo is said to have a productive working relationship with his GOP colleague across the Hudson River.

But even more infuriating for the Astorino campaign — and some other GOP governors and potential 2016 rivals watching from afar — was the spectacle of one of the country’s most famous Republicans publicly refusing to help another Republican get elected in a big midterm year, even if campaign funds aren’t on the way. Astorino trails Cuomo by almost 40 points in the polls.

The “lost cause” remark was a particular sore spot: Not only had Christie welcomed $1.7 million in RGA funds during his non-competitive blowout re-election bid last year, as RGA chairman he’s campaigned this year for long-shot Republican gubernatorial hopefuls in states like California and New Hampshire as well.

How Chris Christie took over the Republican Governors Association

Astorino lit into Christie on Tuesday during an earlier appearance on Dicker’s show, saying that the New Jersey governor should step down from the RGA if he’s refusing to support other Republican candidates.

"Clearly, he could come across the bridge and not just raise money for himself, but raise money for the Republican candidate here — unless he is unable or unwilling because he has an issue that we don't know about with Andrew Cuomo and the bridgegate scandal," Astorino told Dicker, twisting the knife.

After the tirade, the RGA reached out to Astorino’s campaign through Ed Cox, the New York Republican Party Chairman, and said he should not come to Aspen, multiple GOP sources confirmed to CNN. Astorino dismissed the request.

Catching wind of the story, emissaries for other Republican governors — including two of Christie’s potential 2016 rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — reached out to Astorino and told him to ignore the request and come to Aspen.

In Aspen, the Astorino campaign said they won commitments from Perry, Jindal, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to host fundraisers for him in New York.

And Perry, in what can only be described as an act of high-stakes Christie trolling, tweeted a picture of himself with his arm around Astorino at the Aspen event on Wednesday night.

“Glad to be with my buddy @RobAstorino in Aspen,” Perry wrote.


Filed under: 2014 • Chris Christie • New York • RGA
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Karen

    Will CNN cover Governor Cuomo corruption detailed in NY Times article?

    July 24, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "But even more infuriating for the Astorino campaign — and some other GOP governors and potential 2016 rivals watching from afar — was the spectacle of one of the country’s most famous Republicans publicly refusing to help another Republican get elected in a big midterm year, even if campaign funds aren’t on the way."

    Well, to the benefit of Chris Christie ... he never, ever allows ANYONE to get in his way when primping himself, his ego, and his political future.

    His only trouble lays with his inability to understand it is all for naught. Push come to shove, this man's political career is over.

    July 24, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Silence DoGood

    Conservatives debating the issues get nasty and petulant so quickly. It must be the rigid Holy Purity test thinking.
    There is a reason the Founding Fathers distanced themselves from the European Church State mentality.

    July 24, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Thomas

    St. Regis Hotel in Aspen .

    1st class con dogs .

    July 24, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Conservatives frequently complain about a highly charged and divisive atmosphere that has taken hold in recent years. From their perspective, they've got a point. The right wing is splintering into orthodox factions. The problem is that they're blaming liberals, Pres. Obama, high taxes, immigrants, and you know the rest, for their in-fighting.

    Why would they so exclude Astorino, anyway? What's the beef? Okay, he's trailing, way behind in the polls, but he's still one of their own. I need to go back and see what Astorino might have said about Christie following Sandy.

    July 24, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Astorino better watch his astorino before Christy has him for a midnight snack...😄

    July 24, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. HURC

    lol....lovin' it....GOPers can't spew enough hate at the left so they turn on each other...

    July 24, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. O'drama ya Mama

    Perry accuses Obama of campaigning while there is a border crisis while Perry campaigns in the midst of a border crisis.

    Do as I say not as I do.

    July 24, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Tony D

    O'drama ya Mama
    Perry accuses Obama of campaigning while there is a border crisis while Perry campaigns in the midst of a border crisis.
    Do as I say not as I do.
    --

    Big difference is that Perry is actually taking action to address the problem, because Obama won't do his job. The Campaigner-in-Chief just can't be bothered to clean up the mess he made.

    July 24, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Tony D

    O'drama ya Mama
    Perry accuses Obama of campaigning while there is a border crisis while Perry campaigns in the midst of a border crisis.
    Do as I say not as I do.
    -

    Big difference is that Perry is actually taking action to address the problem, because Obama won't do his job. The Campaigner-in-Chief just can't be bothered to clean up the mess he made.
    ------------------------------–
    Perry has done nothing of the kind. Why didn't Perry send in the Guard last week, instead of whining the whole week about Pres. Obama not doing it? Because he knew that he could fool a lot people who didn't know that Pres. Obama cannot order the Texas National Guard around without an authorization from Congress.

    Perry procrastinated. What good would the Guard do, anyway, besides crowd control.? People are surrendering by the dozens and dozens. It's not like they're sneaking across the border.

    July 24, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The guy has no chance against the Dem political machine.........which can only be compared to 1930's Germany.

    July 24, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    -if Chris Christy is smart, he relinquish Republican Party, join Democratic Party. It is quite common, normal in any democratic nation. This is my advice of erudition.

    July 24, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "And a flat tax with little to no loopholes would support your statement. Some "loopholes" make sense like the mortgage deduction. But almost everything else has come about due to lobbyists. A flat tax dramatically reduces the opportunity for our politicians to be bought off."
    -----------------------–
    How on Earth do you figure that a flat tax would reduce the impact lobbyists? Can a flat tax build a warp drive?

    July 24, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Ruggercop

    The St. Regis.

    I guess the Holiday Inn Express was booked up or Dominos wouldn't deliver so they had to subsist on lobster, prime rib, and non top shelf martins.

    Republican leadership, feeling the pain of the average American.

    July 24, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Justsayin

    Seems Gov. Christy is a bit of a spy in the house of love. Wonder which other Dems he has the hots for?

    July 24, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Tony D, how much of a difference will 1000 National Guard troops, who are not trained in law enforcement, going to do to stem the flow of people across the border? Perry is all about show, anyway: remember when he made a big point of praying for divine intervention during the drought a few years ago? Its all for consumption by gullible fools who think that a C student and career politician from Texas A&M really has a grasp on the big picture.

    July 24, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "How on Earth do you figure that a flat tax would reduce the impact lobbyists? Can a flat tax build a warp drive?"

    To be fair, I think his point (not well stated) is that if we set the rates, allow extremely few loopholes and deductions and prohibit more of them, it would give lobbyists less ability to seek those loopholes and deductions, because they can't get them, so they'd be "bribing" congress critters less. The problem is that we can't prohibit more loopholes and deductions from creeping back in. Congress has the power to tax and that's that. They can voluntarily limit themselves or set up procedural rules to make it harder, but at the end of the day, we can't just blanket prohibit loopholes and deductions. They can just repeal it. Maybe a Constitutional amendment is the only way, but that would unnecessarily restrict our options for crafting creative legislation to address difficult fiscal issues.

    July 24, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Perry accuses Obama of campaigning while there is a border crisis while Perry campaigns in the midst of a border crisis.

    Do as I say not as I do."

    IOKIYAR

    July 24, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Conservatives debating the issues get nasty and petulant so quickly."

    Even the weakest runt in the little will go ballistic if cornered...and, essentially, that's what happens to the GOPers/Teatrolls on an intellectual level when they try to engage on substantive policy issues. They are fundamentally averse, unversed and uninterested in policy: to be so you need to be interested in making government work in the first place. Their position instead is rather a simple sidestep to the problem...a blanket policy of "no policies", i.e., as little or no government and governance as they can possible force there to be. Thus, they need not concern themselves with "policy" per se, because it's mere existence is anathema to their ideology.

    July 24, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein

    Christie likes landslides because that is why he moved the election to fill Lautenberg's seat rather than have it in November. He would have rather spent 11 million of NJ taxpayer's dollars than win by only 5 to 10 points. I think that Christie needs to have Astorino in his face for a few minutes.

    July 24, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. salty dog

    Hey Tony, found your problem, its the law w passed, we know you want Obama to ignore it and do exactly as you say, then you can sit back and blame him for doing it, the childish nature of the gop is getting g very tiresome for those of us who actually want issues resolved

    July 24, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. ritmocojo

    Oxygen will be at a premium up in Aspen when Chris Crispy Cream rolls into town. Just like when he sits down to eat, the price of groceries goes up...

    July 24, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "How on Earth do you figure that a flat tax would reduce the impact lobbyists? Can a flat tax build a warp drive?"

    To be fair, I think his point (not well stated) is that if we set the rates, allow extremely few loopholes and deductions and prohibit more of them, it would give lobbyists less ability to seek those loopholes and deductions, because they can't get them, so they'd be "bribing" congress critters less. The problem is that we can't prohibit more loopholes and deductions from creeping back in. Congress has the power to tax and that's that.
    ------------------------------------–
    I was being fair. The problem that you stated was my point [not even stated]. There's nothing that you can do to weaken the influence of lobbyists by changing the tax code. It's the old any excuse for a tax cut argument.

    They make the same sort of disconnected arguments about deregulation. Now they're saying that we need to deregulate the oil and gas industry to allow exports to Europe to reduce their dependency on Russia for energy.

    July 24, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "How on Earth do you figure that a flat tax would reduce the impact lobbyists? Can a flat tax build a warp drive?"

    To be fair, I think his point (not well stated) is that if we set the rates, allow extremely few loopholes and deductions and prohibit more of them, it would give lobbyists less ability to seek those loopholes and deductions, because they can't get them, so they'd be "bribing" congress critters less. The problem is that we can't prohibit more loopholes and deductions from creeping back in. Congress has the power to tax and that's that.
    ------------–
    I was being fair. The problem that you stated was my point [not even stated]. There's nothing that you can do to weaken the influence of lobbyists by changing the tax code. It's the old any excuse for a tax cut argument.

    They make the same sort of disconnected arguments about deregulation. Now they're saying that we need to deregulate the oil and gas industry to allow exports to Europe to reduce their dependency on Russia for energy.
    ----------
    Dude, you are all over the map and driving erratically. You feeling ok?

    July 24, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. ChrisM

    Oh these poor poor repubs. Go right ahead and fight amongst yourselves. The clown car is just beginning again

    July 24, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |