New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrives in Baton Rouge Thursday to help Gov. Bobby Jindal in electing conservative candidates.
A welcome rally will be held for Christie at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Louisiana Aircraft Terminal, 4225 Yeager Ave. The event is open to the public.
Later that night, Christie will be the drawing card at a Louisiana Republican Party fundraiser designed to help generate $1 million for the fall elections.
The money raised — through supporters paying up to $100,000 to mingle with the New Jersey governor at an undisclosed private home — will go into the party’s “Victory Fund.”
The fund is supposed to benefit candidates running for the Legislature and for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“We haven’t given out any direct contributions and as of now we don’t plan to. We will primarily be helping candidates through coordinated expenditures such as mail, media and grass roots,” said Jason Dore, executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party.
Also raising money for the fall elections is U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. Vitter, who did not respond to three requests for comment in two days, is bringing in big dollars for his Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority.
Jindal and Vitter are leading dueling efforts to attract wealthy benefactors to what they are characterizing as a cause to elect conservative public officials. The overarching goal is to increase the number of Republicans in the Louisiana House and Senate.
Jindal’s rival Victory Fund drive follows his refusal to publicly back Vitter’s re-election bid last year.
Exactly how well Jindal is doing in his fundraising drive is unclear.
Although the Louisiana Republican Party files monthly finance reports with the Louisiana Board of Ethics, the Victory Fund is lumped in with the party’s other fundraising efforts.
The party as a whole reported having on hand $441,148.98 after spending less than $50,000 in August.
In July, the party raised about $43,000 and spent about $75,000.
Roger Villere, the party’s chairman, said he is unsure how much money is in the “Victory Fund.”
“It’s coming and going. We’re spending,” Villere said.
The party hopes to bring in a lot of money for the Victory Fund with Christie’s help.
Christie’s name is on the rise nationally as the announced seekers of the Republican presidential nomination struggle to catch fire. Christie has dismissed speculation about a White House bid next year.
Villere declined to say how much has been collected from supporters wanting to meet Christie.
“People are very interested,” Villere said. “This is not a bring-large-crowds (kind of event), because it’s a high dollar event.”