How Astorino Angered Christie and Lost Millions

Matt Katz | July 28, 2014 | Katz on Christie

Gov. Chris Christie found himself embroiled in a mini-controversy last week with a fellow Republican, New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, after Christie said that the Republican Governors Association, which Christie leads, had no plans to spend money right now on behalf of Astorino. 

“We don’t pay for landslides, and we don’t invest in lost causes,” Christie said.

Astorino then went nuclear, saying Christie should resign from the RGA if he can’t support Republican candidates. Astorino even flew to Aspen for an RGA meeting — despite suggestions that he stay home — where he had a “very curt” conversation with Christie while making friends with Christie’s potential 2016 rivals like Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. He even claimed that Christie was perhaps not supporting him because New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had damning information about Bridgegate.

But Astorino may have been able to avoid the Christie snub. Since last November, Astorino allies have publicly coveted Christie’s cash — and then grumbled when the money never came. In the process, certain rules on how to deal with Christie were violated, and Team Christie most certainly noticed. Here are the ways that Astorino poked the bear across the Hudson:

1) Before Astorino was even an official candidate, he flew to the RGA’s annual meeting in Arizona and privately met with Christie. His people then publicly discussed the details of that conversation — something that Christie hates.

2) Astorino’s description of that private conversation may not have even been accurate. An Astorino source told the New York Post that Christie had committed to supporting him: “Christie basically told him that he’d love nothing better than to see him beat Andrew Cuomo.” The Daily News ran a similar story. But then Christie called that claim false. “He didn’t seek support,” Christie said. “The nature of our meeting… was essentially me and Mary Pat with Rob [Astorino] and his wife asking us about what it was like to both run for governor with young children and to serve as governor with young children.”

3) By July, the RGA money hadn’t come through, and New York Republicans started grumbling to the press. “Chris Christie has done diddly squat to help the Astorino folks,” a source told the New York Post. “Either Christie has formed an unholy alliance with Cuomo in the aftermath of the Bridgegate scandal or he’s preoccupied with running for president. Either way, New York Republicans are noticing it and they’re unhappy about it.”

A week later, Christie was asked if he was going to campaign and raise money for Astorino. That’s when he essentially dismissed Astorino as the inevitable loser.