Christie outshines McConnell at dueling fundraisers

If Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) wondered why there were empty seats at a Philadelphia fundraiser held in his honor last week, he needed only to venture downstairs.

At the city’s private, members-only Union League, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was hosting the Senate minority leader, who on a normal day would probably be a pretty big draw for deep-pocketed Pennsylvania Republican donors.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Unless the guest at a competing fundraiser one floor below is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), who is considered likely to win his re-election, brought in the powerhouse who, despite recent traffic-related events, remains beloved by Philadelphia-area Republicans.

So the choice to hear McConnell discuss the nuclear option or to see Christie in all his bombastic glory was little contest. The attendance at Christie’s event, we hear, was noticeably greater.

“If you get a celebrity, you’re going to take him regardless of whether it takes away from somebody else,” a GOP source told the Loop.

But at least one person was excited to see McConnell. Rumor has it Christie went up to greet him but just missed him.

McConnell may want to consider calling in Christie for a fundraising boost. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is running for McConnell’s seat, outraised the senator this quarter for the second time this cycle.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz | April 15