Mark Zuckerberg to hold fundraiser for Chris Christie

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is wading into East Coast politics. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, will host a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

It's yet another sign that Democrats have little chance of unseating a governor who has reached sky-high approval ratings and national fame in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. 

Zuckerberg previously donated $100 million to the Newark school system after striking up a friendship with Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D). Booker, Christie, and Zuckerberg announced the donation together on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." There has been some controversy over how that money has been spent.

“Mark and [his wife] Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system,” Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said in a statement. “They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark’s school children.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Feb. 13 event will be the first campaign fundraiser at Zuckerberg's home. Facebook's corporate PAC donates to both parties but currently tilts slightly in favor of Republicans.

"It demonstrates how broad the support is for Governor Christie," said Christie strategist Mike DuHaime of the fundraiser. "He is very grateful for their support."

The Democratic Governors Association is trying to drum up support for a petition demanding Zuckerberg cancel the fundraiser. (Update: That petition link is no longer working).

Zuckerberg hosted a Facebook town hall for President Obama in 2011; Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg held one with Christie later that year. When Obama hosted a dinner in Silicon Valley for high-tech executives, the young billionaire sat next to the president.

Booker declined to run against Christie this year. He is instead planning a bid for Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat. The only declared Democratic candidate in the race against Christie is state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Natalie Jennings | January 24, 2013