The Washington Post

Christie adviser: GOP donors remain ‘positive,’ travel will continue

A top political adviser to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told The Washington Post Tuesday that Christie’s has recently received “positive, pro-active feedback” from leading Republican donors and will continue to travel nationally to raise money for GOP candidates.

“There have been plenty of calls,” Mike DuHaime, Christie’s chief political strategist, said in an interview before Christie’s annual address to state legislators. “There has been positive, pro-active feedback.”

DuHaime, who was a lead consultant on Christie’s 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial campaigns, added that Christie would travel to Florida later this week to support Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is up for reelection.

DuHaime’s message is a signal to the Republican establishment that Christie’s political operation -- widely seen by power brokers as a political shop preparing for a 2016 presidential run -- is still humming regardless of the looming controversy over last year’s traffic snarls in Fort Lee, N.J., an episode that has entangled several Christie confidants.

Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager who has been tied to the lane closures at George Washington Bridge, was released from Christie’s kitchen cabinet last week. Stepien had previously been tapped by Christie to serve as an adviser to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which Christie chairs, and as chairman of the state Republican Party.

DuHaime said Stepien’s vacancy in Christie’s inner circle has not led to any sort of further shake up within Christie’s tight-knit team -- which includes former Romney adviser Russ Schriefer and adviser Bill Palatucci.

“No,” DuHaime said, when asked about whether Christie has made any personnel decisions within his political enterprise following Stepien’s departure. “Obviously, the [2013] campaign is over, and I know people are looking ahead multiple years, but it’s premature to figure that stuff out right now.”

DuHaime would not rule out taking on some kind of consulting role with the RGA, but said his main focus remains outside political consulting and working with Christie on political strategy and planning.

A number of prominent Republicans have publicly expressed support for Christie in the past week, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and billionaire donor Frank Langone.

Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post.



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