Mark Zuckerberg Planning Fundraiser for NJ Governor Chris Christie - The Jewish Voice
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Mark Zuckerberg Planning Fundraiser for NJ Governor Chris Christie

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will hold a fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in February at his Palo Alto, Calif., home. Zuckerberg and Christie connected when Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark’s troubled public school system in 2010. The pair appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, once thought to be considering challenging Christie later this year, though Booker has made it clear he is more interested in Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat in 2014.

“They have maintained a mutual respect and friendship since they met in 2010,” Christie strategist Michael DuHaime told the New York Daily News. “Governor Christie is gratified to have Mark and Priscilla’s support.”

Zuckerberg, who married Priscilla Chan in May 2012, is asking donors for $3,800 – New Jersey’s maximum contribution. His personal wealth is estimated to be $9.4 billion as of last year.

Critics noted the timing of the 2010 donation as being close to the release of The Social Network, a film which painted a somewhat unflattering portrait of Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg responded to the criticism, saying, “The thing that I was most sensitive about with the movie timing was, I didn’t want the press about The Social Network movie to get conflated with the Newark project. I was thinking about doing this anonymously just so that the two things could be kept separate.” Mayor Booker stated that he and Gov. Christie had to convince Zuckerberg’s team not to make the donation anonymously.

Zuckerberg, 28, once stated that he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. He held a town hall meeting for President Obama during his campaign in 2011. He ditched his standard T-shirt and sweatshirt in exchange for a tie and jacket. They also attended a Silicon Valley dinner together. During last year’s presidential campaign, Zuckerberg “liked” Mitt Romney’s Facebook page, leading many to consider that an endorsement of Romney, although Zuckerberg did not officially endorse Romney or Obama for president.

The fundraiser comes at a time when Gov. Christie is enjoying a surge in popularity following his steadfast leadership in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. A recent poll has his favorability rating at a stunning 74 percent.

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