After Chris Christie declared in a news conference today that he will NOT be a candidate for president, it appears that the GOP presidential field is settled. At least according to some remaining big bundlers…
By Reid Pillifant
Oct 4, 2011
“A lot of us who normally would have been in this presidential race a long time ago, have been waiting for Christie to make a decision,” said Georgette Mosbacher, a Republican uber-fund-raiser and finance co-chair of the Republican National Committee who was among a group of Republican bundlers hoping to convince Christie to enter the race. “I think tomorrow, we’ll be contacting one another and probably put something together with Romney.”
“I’m going to go with Mitt Romney,” said John Catsimatidis, another donor who had been intrigued with Christie, in a brief phone interview this afternoon.
“You’re calling about yesterday’s news,” said Catsimatidis, who said he had gotten the indication Christie wouldn’t run from some of the governor’s advisers yesterday.
Catsimatidis said he had started pitching Romney in the last couple weeks, on the expectation the governor wouldn’t seek the nomination. At a meeting with other conservatives last Monday night, Catsimatidis said, he made the pitch for Romney’s electability.
“The speech I gave to my conservative friends was, if you pick somebody who makes you 100 percent happy, you only get 47 percent against Obama,” said Catsimatidis. “We have to capture the middle in order to win and make a change in this country. Ninety percent of them stood up and said, ‘You’re right.’”
Mosbacher conceded there was “some disappointment” at Christie’s decision, but said the public flirtation with Christie wouldn’t make it tougher to raise for Romney, especially with Texas governor Rick Perry suddenly slipping in the polls after a couple of disastrous debate performances.
“Look, we’ll raise the money that’s necessary to beat Obama,” she said. “It’s not going to be any harder than it would have been a month ago, or two months ago, or six months ago. Now it’s pretty clear. Perry has dropped pretty quickly. And I would say that the race is now Romney and Obama. … [O]ur first and foremost goal is to defeat Obama. And we do believe Romney, in terms of independents, will be a strong candidate. We will coalesce behind him now.”
Mosbacher said the big bundlers in her circle “do not consider a Perry factor.”
Catsimatidis said his level of involvement would depend on what the Romney campaign asks of him, but he expected to be more involved than simply cutting a check.
Mosbacher said she would be on the phone for Romney as soon as the Christie decision becomes official.
“The time has come. With the primaries being moved up, the time has come to get behind him,” she said.
“Tomorrow I’ll be on the phone all day,” Mosbacher told me today.
“Quite frankly, it’ll be easier, because now we know who it is who will be our nominee,” she added. “So we will pull our Rolodexes out and get to work.”
(emphasis added ) Continue reading here.
► Jayde Wyatt