Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Was Gov. Chris Christie Romney's first choice?

By Richard K. Barry

(Ed. note: Following up on Richard's post from a couple of weeks ago, when the Post reported that Christie wouldn't step down as governor to join the ticket. We both still think Christie would have been the smarter pick for Romney, though obviously the rather significant matter of Wall Street money is a major consideration. Then again, how much money does Romney need? At some point the returns start diminishing. Has that point not been reached? -- MJWS)

Who knows if this is true, given that it comes from the New York Post, but they are claiming Romney was poised to pick Chris Christie as his running mate but the deal fell through when Christie wouldn't agree to step down as New Jersey governor to do it. According to the story, Christie also had strong doubts Romney could win.

The report says that if Romney continued on as governor while also being the VP candidate, large donations from the financial sector to the Romney campaign might have been jeopardized because of the work certain firms do with New Jersey:

One rule, enacted in the mid-1990s, restricts Wall Street executives whose firms underwrite municipal bonds from making personal contributions of more than $250 to a governor running for federal office — or risk being banned from doing business in that state for two years.

That severely limits banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank from donating to a Romney-Christie ticket if Christie remained governor because they do business with New Jersey.

The second rule, enacted in 2010, limits pension-investment advisers from making campaign donations to a governor running for federal office.

That would have restricted powerhouse firms like Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Wellington Advisors from contributing, because they also do business with New Jersey.

I guess this might be right, but since I've always thought Christie would be the best pick for Romney, I've been looking for reasons it didn't work out. Maybe this is it.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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