Despite venue switch, Romney and Christie net $1 million for RGA at Boston fundraiser

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) were forced to relocate a Boston fundraiser Thursday night after a media camp out spooked the major donor who previously agreed to host the event. But, despite the location shuffling, the Republican Governor’s Association fundraiser raised $1 million, according to the group.

The fundraiser, which featured Romney, Christie, and Charlie Baker -- the presumptive GOP nominee in the Massachusetts governor's race -- was originally slated to be held at the suburban home of New Balance co-founder Jim Davis, a major Romney donor.

But, with members of the media eager to question Christie about new documents released Thursday regarding the ongoing bridge scandal camped out across the street from Davis' home, the event was moved just hours before it was set to begin. Its new location, the Lenox hotel in downtown Boston, had the amenity of a garage entrance -- allowing Romney, Christie and the donors to enter and exit without facing the media.

Throughout the backlash over the bridge scandal, Romney has served as Christie's most prominent public defender and advocate, and the RGA has insisted that the scandal has not hurt the ability of Christie -- the group's chairman -- to raise funds.

Democrats in both New Jersey and Massachusetts slammed Christie on Thursday afternoon for traveling on the  national fundraising tour despite the ongoing investigation and hope that linking Baker to the embattled governor will help their chances of retaining Massachusetts' governorship later this year.

"It’s an embarrassment to have Governor Christie in Massachusetts today,” said Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). While Christie has yet to be directly implicated in the scandal, he said, the idea that the New Jersey governor's top aides caused a traffic jam for political reasons is "as demeaning as you can get."

Bridge-gate could hurt Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. PostTV takes you through the story, from the beginning. (Julie Percha/The Washington Post)

Several GOP donors in Boston said that the fundraiser would serve duel purposes -- raising money for the RGA and also introducing Christie to some key donors who could consider backing him if he runs for president in 2016.

Those donors, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the New Jersey governor, said Christie is flawed as a potential presidential candidate and would be hard-pressed to earn their financial backing.

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

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Matea Gold · February 27, 2014