POLITICS
01/10/2014 05:08 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Chris Christie Headlining Event For Rick Scott Amid Bridge Scandal

Despite revelations this week that members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) staff maneuvered a catastrophic traffic jam, the governor will headline fundraisers for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando next Saturday, according to the National Journal.

"We always welcome Governor Christie to Florida," state House Speaker Will Weatherford (R) told the magazine. "An unfortunate situation has taken place and he's addressed it. He's not hiding from it. I think he handled it well."

Christie, the chief of the Republican Governors Association, would normally play a critical role in fundraising for his party's incumbents and challengers in races across the country. But his fundraising appeal may be diminished in the wake of the scandal -- his favorability rating is down 8 points.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was one of a handful of Republicans to jump to Christie's defense, saying in a Facebook post Thursday that he "did the right thing."

Scott's reelection is viewed as a top-tier race. In February, Politico reported he had planned a $100 million reelection campaign, the most expensive in state history.

The liberal-leaning polling firm Public Policy Polling found in October that Scott is one of the most unpopular governors in the country, with only 33 percent of Florida respondents approving of his performance as governor.

His presumed opponent is former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who left the GOP after his failed 2010 Senate campaign and later became a Democrat.

The Florida Democratic Party sent out a release Friday welcoming Christie to the Sunshine State.

"You might think it's a bridge too far for Christie to attend fundraisers while mired in scandal," said communications director Joshua Karp. "But we think it's heartwarming that scandal-plagued governor Christie would take a break from political damage control to raise money for his scandal-plagued colleague, Rick Scott."

HuffPost Pollster, which combines all publicly available polling data, shows Crist leading Scott 46 percent to 37 percent in the governor's race.

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