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Chris Christie not stumping for Neel Kashkari during L.A. visit

Chris Christie not stumping for Neel Kashkari during L.A. visit
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters in San Francisco in June. (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrives in Los Angeles on Wednesday for the start of a three-day, multistate fundraising swing for the Republican Governors Assn. But unlike in the other states Christie plans to visit, the potential 2016 presidential candidate is not holding a single public event with the GOP candidate for governor here, Neel Kashkari.

Christie, who has shattered fundraising records since taking the helm of the RGA in late 2013, will raise money for the group at a private event in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. Kashkari was included on the invitation as a "special guest" and will also address attendees.

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But he is not being given the billing of the GOP gubernatorial candidates in the other states Christie is visiting. On Thursday, Christie will greet phone bank volunteers and attend a fundraiser for Arizona Republican nominee Doug Ducey; on Friday the New Jerseyite will visit a charter school with GOP candidate Bob Beauprez in Colorado and co-host a campaign rally with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in his state, which holds the first presidential nominating contest in the nation.

Ducey and Beauprez's appearances alongside Christie at RGA fundraisers in their respective states were highlighted in an advisory about Christie's trip; Kashkari was not mentioned.

An RGA official said Christie's schedule did not allow time for a public appearance with Kashkari in California.

The three gubernatorial candidates Christie is campaigning with are positions dramatically different from Kashkari's. Branstad is strongly favored in his race, and Ducey and Beauprez's contests are tight. In contrast, Kashkari trails incumbent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown by roughly 20 points in polls and has been out-raised by tens of millions of dollars.

Christie did stump for Kashkari earlier this year, shortly after Kashkari beat Assemblyman Tim Donnelly in the June primary. But even then, as he lauded Kashkari, Christie warned that the RGA’s support would be dependent on Kashkari moving the needle in a race that all sides agree is heavily tilted in favor of Brown.

"Each race is up to the individual candidate, and what the RGA can do is when we have a close race, we could be the folks who push that person over the finish line," Christie said then, after he toured a San Francisco flower warehouse with Kashkari. "He's got work to do. He knows he's got work to do."
 
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