In a sign of New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie's strength heading into his 2013 reelection, he's won over Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg will be holding a February fundraiser for the governor at his Palo Alto, Calif., house, Christie strategist Mike DuHaime confirmed to National Journal.
“We have not asked for any help beyond the fundraiser at this point,” DuHaime wrote in an e-mail. “Governor Christie is very appreciative of the support.”
Zuckerberg and Christie have had ties since the Silicon Valley billionaire donated $100 million to Newark public schools. The two, along with Mayor Cory Booker, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2010 to announce the donation.
Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg told BuzzFeed, who first reported news of the fundraiser, that Zuckerberg and his wife “admire [Christie’s] leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark's schoolchildren." During the 2012 presidential race, Zuckerberg headlined Silicon Valley fundraisers on behalf of President Obama.
Zuckerberg’s support underscores how difficult it’ll be for a Democrat to seriously challenge Christie. Booker, who opted to pursue a Senate run instead of challenging Christie, also has strong ties with Zuckerberg. Booker called him an “American hero” for his work in social media, and the mayor played a big role in courting matching funds for Zuckerberg's donation.