This time, it’s Chris Christie’s turn to be the richest guy in the room.
New Jersey’s Republican governor, who ran Jon Corzine out of Trenton in 2009 despite being outspent more than two-to-one, has opted to skip the state’s public financing program for the time being. Christie’s campaign announced today the $2.13 million it’s raised so far for his re-election effort has prompted him to forego matching funds through the June primary.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented level of financial support from across all 21 counties in New Jersey,” Bill Palatucci, a long-term advisor to Christie, said today in a statement. “This positive reaction during such a short period of time only continues to grow daily which is why Governor Christie’s campaign has decided not to pursue matching funds for this primary election cycle.”
Christie accepted the maximum of $7.3 million in matched funds in his first gubernatorial bid, forcing him to limit spending.
Fast-forward a few years, and he raised more than $2.1 million for the election in just 36 days without holding a single fund-raiser, his campaign said in a Jan. 3 statement. He hasn’t ruled out making a White House run in 2016 after resisting efforts from Republicans and business executives to draft him this past November.
Chritie’s $2.13 million is over eight times more than the only declared Democrat in the gubernatorial race, state Sen. Barbara Buono. She reported about $250,000.
Buono trailed Christie by 42 percentage points in a Jan. 7 poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind center. The survey showed the incumbent leading the strongest contender, Senator and fill-in Gov. Richard Codey, 59 percent to 26 percent.
The reversal in cash on hand is also a partisan shift from 2009, when former Goldman Sachs Inc. co-chairman Corzine spent $27 million against Christie’s $11.4 million put out by the challenger. The Democrat self-funded most of his campaign, giving or lending it $25.3 million of his own money.
Voters, souring on the state’s economy and high property taxes, elected Christie with 49 percent of the vote, while Corzine received 45 percent and independent Chris Daggett took 5.8 percent. The three candidates spent a combined $40.1 million in the campaign.
Corzine spent a total of $104 million in his successful runs for U.S. Senate in 2000 and governor in 2005. Christie said at the time “there’s a basic unfairness” to self-funding candidates.