Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin published a piece Thursday suggesting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is still a player in the 2016 presidential election in spite of the scandals rocking his administration.
Rubin referenced Christie’s chances while discussing a Politico story about how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was defending Christie against calls to resign as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Rubin described Walker as a potential 2016 candidate and said he still has incentive to support Christie even though they may be rivals in that race.
“Walker may not ultimately seek the presidency. Even if he does and does not win the top spot, he may not want to alienate the man who still might be the party’s nominee and possibly the president,” Rubin wrote.
Rubin said Walker may want to maintain a good relationship with Christie because the Wisconsin governor would “make a fine vice president or Cabinet official” in a hypothetical Christie administration. She also suggested there is backlash among conservatives against media coverage of the multiple investigations into alleged abuses of power by Christie and his aides in New Jersey and theorized Walker “may have sensed that the political winds have shifted somewhat on the right, if not in favor of Christie, then at least in opposition to the MSM feeding frenzy. “
Rubin didn’t address, however, that Christie’s national poll numbers have plummeted in recent weeks as the scandals around him have grown. A poll released Wednesday, for instance, showed Christie 21 points behind in a hypothetical general election matchup against Hillary Clinton after previously being neck-and-neck with the former secretary of state.
Rubin closed her column by arguing Christie will be an effective fundraiser for the RGA amid the scandal whether or not he eventually runs for president. However, she said this would put him in a strong position if he does launch a campaign.
“Christie’s record-setting fundraising haul in January will dampen any calls for him to leave the RGA’s top spot. Regardless of whether he maintains his presidential standing for 2016, Christie will have the ability not only to raise a boatload of cash for all the GOP governors, but also to help out on an as-needed basis in Senate races,” wrote Rubin. “If he proves to be a real help to Republican candidates that is a lot of IOU’s to cash in during a presidential run.”
A special investigative committee in the the New Jersey Legislature is investigating allegations Christie’s allies closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September to cause gridlock for political reasons. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also investigating the accusations as well as Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s claim Christie officials threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid from her city if she did not approve a real estate project.