Breaking! One Moderate Northeast Republican Endorses Another!

by Alec MacGillis | October 11, 2011

Okay, maybe I'm missing something here. Sure, getting Chris Christie behind you is a bigger deal than, say, having Judd Gregg come out to say that he still likes you. But, really, is anyone that surprised that Christie is endorsing Mitt Romney? Did we think Christie was more of a Santorum guy? I mean, just hours after Christie said he wouldn't run, the key people pushing him to -- Home Depot's Ken Langone and hedge fund gazillionaire Paul Singer among them -- announced that they would be lining up with Romney. So now Christie is following suit.

This does still leave one question that I put to a partner at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund the other day: why were conservative financiers like Singer so eager to have Christie in the race, when they already had a business-minded private-equity titan in Romney? This partner said it was a combination of things, mostly coming down to the greater familiarity that the financiers have with the guy next door in Jersey. "They really like Christie because of the tough stance he took on the pensions," the partner said. "There's also a border state thing with Christie. He's right here, they know him, and the Wall Street money likes to have a guy who's right next to them. "  Christie, the partner said, was seen as more likely to "protect their own interests" whereas Romney is somewhat less reliable in this regard because he "shifts with the winds."  There's also an element of cultural distinctions within the finance world between Romney's Bain Capital, a private equity giant, and the hedge fund titans, the partner said. "Those worlds are pretty different. The Bain Capitol world is the stodgy, corporate relationship world. The hedge funds are almost against the investment banks, whereas the private equity funds use the investment banks. I could imagine that in the Paul Singer world, they see Romney as cozy with investment banks and that side of Wall Street."

Finally, Christie's personal style was a better fit for the masters of the universe. "Christie is a guy who calls it like he sees it," the partner said. "They like the brusque guys because they're brusque guys. They state their own views." 

But, the partner said, "having said all that, their money’s still going to come to Romney at the end of the day." And now their man Christie has too.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-stump/96043/breaking-one-moderate-northeast-republican-endorses-another