Political Animals

Mark Zuckerberg Will Host a Fundraiser for Republican Gov. Chris Christie in His Palo Alto Manse [UPDATED]

How GOP is your Valley?
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(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America via Zimbio)

If you’ve ever wanted to check out the “music alcove” in Mark Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto pad or dip a toe in his salt water pool, next month might be your chance. Buzzfeed reports that Facebook’s CEO is hosting a fundraiser at his 5,000 square ft. home to raise money for Republican Governor Chris Christie’s reelection.

Back in 2010, Mr. Zuckerberg, Mr. Christie, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker famously graced Oprah’s couch to announce the billionaire’s carefully-orchestrated $100 million donation to Newark’s public school system. They’ve continued to work together on that education initiative, “earning the praise of reformers, and ruffling teachers unions.”

Buzzfeed says Zuck’s support is a sign of how the popular governor’s commitment to issues like improving education has garnered support from donors outside his party:

“But the backing from Facebook’s chairman and chief executive offers far more than money: It is a mark of how Christie, almost alone among his party, has emerged as the sort of natural figure who can cut deep into traditionally Democratic constituencies, like powerful young tech magnates.”

But it’s worth noting that Mr. Zuckerberg, who hosted a town hall with Barack Obama in 2011 and once took a dig at Mitt Romney, has indirectly donated to Republican candidates in the past through his $10,000 donation to Facebook’s corporate PAC. Shortly before the 2012 election, fbPAC continued to tilt toward the GOP, doling out $140,000 to Republicans compared to $127,000 to Democrats–contrary to the personal donations of Facebook’s top employees.

As we’ve seen, sometimes Silicon Valley’s young tech magnates age out into a different party better aligned with their billions.

UPDATE: It looks like the Democrats will not stand idly by as the well-heeled section of its base cozies up to the competitor. The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has launched a petition called, “Stop Zuck’s Christie Fundraiser!” Perhaps using his nickname will endear techies to their cause? The petition calls Mr. Christie a “right-wing Republican darling.” However, Mr. Christie owes some of his 74 percent approval rating to his vociferous criticism of his own party’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

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