Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is hosting a fundraiser for Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who is up for reelection this year, according to Buzzfeed.
The Facebook CEO has not given substantial donations to political campaigns in the past, although he did attend a dinner with President Barack Obama, along with other high-tech executives, back in 2011.
Zuckerberg’s relationship with Christie began in 2010 when Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark public schools.
“Mark and Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system,” Facebook spokesman Sarah Feinberg told Buzzfeed. “They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark’s schoolchildren. Mark and Priscilla are happy to host him at their home to support his reelection.”
Since Zuckerberg made his initial contribution to Newark schools, he along with Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker have combined forces to reform education and combat teachers unions.
Christie strategist Michael DuHaime told Buzzfeed,”Mark and Priscilla expressed interest in supporting the governor for reelection, and he’s gratified to have their help. This illustrates that Governor Christie’s sincere efforts to improve education where it is so badly needed have not gone unnoticed. Education is an issue Gov. Christie cares deeply and passionately about, even though fighting for education reform has not always been politically popular or easy.”
What is most surprising about Zuckerberg’s fundraiser for a prominent leader in the Republican Party is that other Facebook executives have given large donations to the Democratic Party and Obama’s reelection campaign in the past.
However, this fundraiser could benefit Zuckerberg, as well as boost Christie’s campaign fund. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Zuckerberg could improve his negative public image by associating himself with the popular New Jersey governor. Christie has a 74 percent approval rating in New Jersey, his popularity skyrocketing in the garden state for his leadership in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
But while this political maneuver may make Zuckerberg popular, Christie associating himself with Zuckerberg and his fellow Democratic colleagues could be hurt by it in the long run. The New Jersey governor is a potential pick for the 2016 Republican presidential ticket, but his reputation in the Republican Party is at stake since he took handouts from Obama after Sandy and then commended the president for hurricane relief efforts.
However, Zuckerberg’s financial support could boost Christie in the future. The social network mogul could become one of the top donors for Christie’s presidential campaign.
Ambassador Zuckerberg anyone?