If you believe the poll numbers, Chris Christie’s chances to win the Republican presidential nomination are small. Whichever poll you read, he’s rarely in the upper tier of GOP wannabes.
But what the voters think doesn’t matter much. Candidates who show the ability to raise more money than their opponents have a leg up on their rivals. Here at home, an unknown outsider, Tom MacArthur, received the GOP nomination in the Third Congressional District simply because he had the means to fund his own campaign. There were several local Republicans like Joe Donnelly, Randy Brown, and Diane Allen whose popularity in the district could have propelled them to the congressional ballot. But to the party mafia, money trumps popularity.
Christie has shown the same penchant for fundraising.
Recently, Christie locked in billionaire and Home Depot cofounder Ken Langone as a financial supporter. Not one to bother with political ethics, Christie will surely reap even more millions through promises of ambassadorial appointments, judicial posts (after all, that’s how he became U.S. Attorney), or other taxpayer-funded jobs.
While Christie’s record as a failed executive in New Jersey may be a factor in the nomination process, it’s not a big one. Voters, donors, and bundlers seem to favor style over substance, so a governor with a track record of no substantial successes who proves he can raise money has an excellent chance of garnering his party’s nomination.
The one candidate Christie should worry about is Mitt Romney. They are similar in that the press portrays them as the “moderate” wing of an extremely right-wing party. Like Christie, Romney has the ability to raise large amounts of money. But if the financial fat cats feel their two prior investments in Romney are enough, Christie has a good change of appearing on that 2016 debate platform with Hillary Clinton.