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Scandal-Plagued Chris Christie Arrives In Dallas As Greg Abbott Flees To Houston To Avoid RGA Chair

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:02 AM CST

The times are tough now, just getting tougher for Chris Christie. The Governor of the great state of New Jersey is in the promised land of Dallas today to raise funds for the Republican Governors Association, one of the groups that will be tasked with supporting Greg Abbott's campaign against Wendy Davis.

Except Greg Abbott appears to be hiding from the embattled Jersey governor, likely to avoid the stink of scandal that hangs around the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

There isn't much of a tunnel of love welcoming the RGA chair to Texas, it seems. According to the Asbury Park Press, Abbott is giving a policy speech somewhere in the swamps of Houston today. Rick Perry won't be there either, unless he affects some sort of brilliant disguise to attend unnoticed (maybe those Warby Parkers will work?).

Heck, it's not even clear how the donors are going to find the event -- apparently Team Christie and the RGA have perpetuated a Tenth Avenue freeze-out of the press, raising the question of whether "Bridgegate" has weakened Christie to the point where he can no longer lead the RGA, let alone the nation.

More below the jump.

Christie's Texas trip was announced almost a month ago, and was likely planned far in advance. It's not like this Abbott "policy speech" is a last-second emergency that is keeping him from appearing with the Obama-hugging, bridge-lane-closing Jersey governor. It appears that Abbott just isn't tougher than the rest and willing to endure the controversy of attending an event with Christie that will benefit his own electoral chances.

Republicans are apparently born to run away from the scandal-plagued governor when he comes to visit. Florida Governor Rick Scott tried to avoid Christie when he was in the Sunshine State for a recent fundraising swing, and was pilloried in the press after attending a closed-door fundraiser with the Garden State native. Failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has also called on Christie to step down from his post. It remains to be seen if Christie has the same trouble in the heartland when he visits Illinois in the coming weeks.

If Christie is still able to lead the RGA he's going to have to prove it all night despite the utter unwillingness of actual Republican Governors to appear in public -- and now, apparently, in private -- with their committee chair.

Finance reports will eventually show how well Christie's Texas trip performed, and which GOP donors are even willing to go dancing in the dark at an event headlined by the Jersey governor, who will likely face Ted Cruz and Rick Perry in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

In the meantime, one thing is clear: the glory days of Chris Christie's tenure at the RGA are certainly over, and that's bad news for Greg Abbott.

Follow BOR's Senior New Jersey Correspondent on Twitter: @KathTX

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