GOP establishment bailing on Christie, jumping to Rubio?
With polls showing support for Christie dropping since the “bridgegate” scandal, it appears some backers of the New Jersey Governor are getting nervous about Christie’s prospects against Hillary Clinton. The polling data, which had been showing a very close race if Clinton and Christie were the respective nominees, is now tilting toward Clinton’s favor.
Report from CNN:
In late November and early December, in the wake of Chris Christie’s landslide re-election victory, the Republican governor from New Jersey was riding high in the polls.
Christie topped the other potential GOP 2016 White House hopefuls in surveys of Republicans’ choice for their next presidential nominee, and he was knotted up with Hillary Clinton in hypothetical general election showdowns.
Now, after month of intense media scrutiny over a couple of controversies in his state, Christie’s numbers have faded, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey.
In a possible 2016 matchup with Clinton, the poll indicates Christie trails the former secretary of state by 16 percentage points, with Clinton at 55% and the Governor at 39% among registered voters nationwide. That’s a dramatic switch from December, when Christie held a 48%-46% edge over Clinton.
Conventional wisdom among the party establishment held that Christie could be a lock for the nomination and then at least have the best chance at toppling Hillary Clinton. However, the “bridgegate” has softened those hopes. Now, apparently, the establishment is looking toward the junior senator from Florida to potentially fill the void. Report from The Hill:
Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) political stock is rated a buy by major Republican fundraisers in Washington, who are bullish on Rubio’s future as a 2016 presidential candidate.
A group of Republican fundraising heavyweights and wise men in Washington’s business community are solidly behind Rubio, and see him not only as someone who could win the White House, but someone they can work with.
The fundraisers include Bill Paxon, a former New York lawmaker who is now a senior adviser at Akin Gump; Dirk Van Dongen, the president of the National Wholesalers Association; and Wayne Berman, a big-time donor with a knack for picking winning candidates in presidential primaries.
All three are a party of the business wing of the Republican Party that has clashed with the Tea Party. Their support for Rubio suggests they seem him as a possible ally going forward.
Christie’s fall could create an opening for Rubio, who saw his stock with conservatives fall last year after he helped move an immigration reform bill through the Senate. Rubio has trailed Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.) in straw polls of grassroots conservatives, which could make a play for the establishment wing of the GOP more enticing.
But first, Rubio would face the difficult choice of whether to opt for a presidential run when it could cost him his Senate seat.
Florida law does not allow Rubio to run simultaneously for the Senate and the White House in 2016, when his seat in the Senate is up.
So Christie out, Rubio in as the “centrist” candidate to run against the Tea Party stalwarts like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz? Rubio used to be the Tea Party favorite prior to his crash-and-burn push for an immigration bill.