New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be lagging behind in 2016 presidential polls, but that’s not stopping the Republican’s allies from creating a super political action committee that will help him raise unlimited amounts of cash should he jump into the race.
GOP operative and former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, Phil Cox, established the super PAC America Leads, which was officially filed with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 23, although news of the group was first reported on Thursday.
"It’s time for America to lead again, and I believe Governor Christie is exactly the kind of strong leader we need at this critical point in our nation’s history."'
Cox told msnbc in a statement that he formed the committee “because it’s time for America to lead again, and I believe Governor Christie is exactly the kind of strong leader we need at this critical point in our nation’s history.” He added that the Garden State governor “has provided effective, conservative leadership in a deep blue state, bringing people together to solve difficult problems and get results. That’s exactly the kind of leadership we need in America today, and we hope he decides to run."
Cox will serve as director of the group, while Paige Hahn, a former finance director of the RGA, will assume the same role for America Leads. Meredith O’Rourke, a prominent GOP fundraiser in Florida who was finance director for Gov. Rick Scott, will serve as a fundraising consultant for the super PAC.
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Back in January, the Christie leadership PAC Leadership Matters for America was formed. That organization, for which Christie is the honorary chairman, gives the governor a fundraising vehicle and allows him to set up donor lists, hire staff, travel around the country and raise his profile. Unlike super PACs, donations to leadership PACs are capped at $5,000.
News of the super PAC comes a day after Christie was in the early voting state of Florida meeting with potential donors. The event was hosted by Ken Langone, the billionaire Home Depot founder and Christie backer.
Christie has had a rough few weeks with his recent trip to England overshadowed by his controversial remarks about vaccinations, a New York Times report detailing the governor’s questionable luxury trips, and reports that donors are turning away from the Republican and towards fellow moderate Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida.
According to the latest average of polling data surrounding the GOP 2016 presidential nomination, compiled by Real Clear Politics, Christie is in sixth place with 6.4% support, trailing behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (16.2%), Jeb Bush (15.8%), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (11.6%), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (10.6%), and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (8.2%).