Christie taps RNC fundraising chief for 2016 role
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The Republican National Committee's top fundraiser is stepping down this week as he prepares to join New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's prospective presidential campaign.
Texas-based fundraiser Ray Washburne told The Associated Press on Monday that, "I won't be the national finance chairman at the end of the week." He declined to comment further because Christie has yet to announce his 2016 intentions.
[Christie delivers his State of the State Address in New Jersey Tuesday at 2 p.m. and will be on the air Thursday at 7 p.m. for "Ask the Governor" on New Jersey 101.5.]
The Washburne move comes as White House prospects begin speeding up their 2016 timelines because of the aggressive steps taken by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has hosted private meetings with top political donors in recent weeks. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told donors late last week that he, too, is thinking about running, adding his name to the list of as many as a dozen high-profile Republicans are considering a campaign.
Christie may face more pressure than others to get in, because Bush and Romney are likely to attract some of the same establishment-minded donors. Washburne was a leading fundraiser for Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush.
Christie's team is expected to start making moves to raise money for a prospective presidential campaign by the end of the month, according to a person who has been in touch with Christie's team, but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.
That could include the potential formation of a political action committee to begin raising cash that can be used to support a prospective campaign, the person said.
Christie's chief political adviser Mike DuHaime declined to comment.