Christie’s Unlikely Supporter

Courtesy of Scott Beale/Laughing Squid (laughingsquid.com)

Chris Christie just got another metaphorical “like” in the form of a campaign fundraiser hosted by Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg has expressed interest in helping the New Jersey Governor as he campaigns for a second term, and will be hosting a fundraiser at his California home. Zuckerberg’s friends and colleagues will be among the guests at the February event. The attendees will be able to make donations of up to $3,800, New Jersey’s legal limit for personal election contributions. Zuckerberg and Christie have been working together since the tech mogul made a $100 million donation in support of Newark, NJ schools in 2010; a Facebook spokesperson attributed Zuckerberg’s continued support to his admiration of Christie’s work on education reform.

Zuckerberg, Facebook’s billionaire founder, isn’t known for political endorsements — in fact, this is the first political fundraiser that Zuckerberg has hosted. As a leading figure in the largely democratic Silicon Valley, it is also notable that he has chosen to throw his weight behind a republican. The backing of a young, influential, presumably left-leaning tech CEO is a strong sign of Christie’s bipartisan appeal.

With the GOP in shambles after a crushing loss in the 2012 election, a Republican like Christie could be the perfect candidate to take up the party standard in 2016. Better known for his straight-talking ways and willingness to work across the aisle than for being an ideological hard-liner, Christie could be the next-generation republican. At least in New Jersey, he has expressed a desire to focus on fiscal issues rather than divisive social questions like the legality of gay marriage. His praise of President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, just days before the election, revealed a penchant for praising good work regardless of who does it. These qualities distinguish him from the majority of Republicans and make him an appealing front-runner for the 2016 nomination.

Mark Zuckerberg made a fortune by knowing a winning product when he saw one – if Christie is lucky, Zuckerberg’s instincts will prove right a second time.

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