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Mark Zuckerberg Will Fundraise For (Facebook Friend) Chris Christie’s Re-Election

It’s good to have someone with over 17 million Facebook friends on your side, especially when it involves a political campaign.

According to Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg, the social network billionaire, will hold a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out in Palo Alto, California. The donations are intended to go towards Mr. Christie’s re-election efforts later this year; a race where he maintains a 60% approval rating over the only Democratic competitor so far, State Senator Barbara Buono.

In 2010, the two met when Mr. Zuckerberg decided to donate $100 million to the Newark school system. He announced the enormous amount on the Oprah Winfrey Show, alongside Mr. Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. And, ever since then, the three have worked together on improving education in Mr. Booker’s stomping grounds.

In terms of electoral prospects, Mr. Christie has been riding off a wave of applause from his state. His Sandy recovery efforts (and friendship with Pres. Obama during it) landed him on the national stage; his snubbing of the Republicans in Congress for delaying aid money won him widespread acclaim; and his appearance on SNL probably helped a bit, too.

But the news of Mr. Zuckerberg’s fundraiser is important for a few other reasons.

In the tradition of social media politics, Silicon Valley has always sided with the Democrats. Whether it’s West Coast liberalism or the younger faces in the Democratic Party that underlies this relationship, this is pretty much a known fact in 2013. So, Mr. Zuckerberg’s fundraiser for a Republican governor speaks volumes on two levels: it cuts into the opposite side’s base and, as we all know, this guy has a ton of money to go around.

And, as we mentioned a few days ago with Cory Booker, winning the Internet is key in campaigns nowadays. Picking up Mr. Zuckerberg’s endorsement adds to that notion for Mr. Christie; now, all he needs to do is an AMA on Reddit.

It remains to be seen, of course, if Mr. Zuckerberg will throw his weight behind Mr. Booker’s senatorial run in 2014. If he does, the same rules will apply, minus the being-a-Republican factor. Nonetheless, cherish the 17 million friends and the vault of money behind them. It can get you a long way.

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker Vs. NJ Governor Chris Christie in 2013? It Could Happen

Next week, the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina. As most of these things go, the three-day extravaganza will be a rallying call to the party’s base. Along with business leaders and Democratic figures, one of the keynote speakers will be Corey Booker, the Mayor of Newark – the man who delivered toilet paper in a blizzard and saved some people from a burning fire during his free time. Yeah, that guy. Cue the parallels with young Barack Obama’s convention speech in 2004.

But those connections have some sort of foundation: Booker is young; he is African-American; he speaks with eloquence as a Stanford graduate and Rhodes Scholar; and he overruns one of the most crime-stricken cities on the East Coast. On the left, he is the Superman liberals have been waiting for since George McGovern – sound like somebody that you used to know, Gotye?

Well, if he is the Ryan Gosling of the blue states, he knows he has to start acting like it. And, with that idea in mind, the Mayor might have a few plans up his sleeves: according to PolitickerNJ, Booker has informed state chairs that he is considering a run against current Governor Chris Christie for the New Jersey gubernatorial seat in 2013.

We hate being those predicting pundits who stir public opinion with forecasts lacking any concrete evidence… but can anyone say ‘Booker for President in 2016?’

But, we repeat, he is only considering it. However, it seems as if the entire Democratic Party in New Jersey was just waiting for Booker to read their minds: Max Pizzarro of PolitickerNJ also mentions that Booker is at the top of list and, at this point, the only Democratic nominee that makes sense running against Christie for the governorship.

As of May, Governor Chris Christie had a 56% approval rating amongst New Jersey residents; Booker had a 46% approval rating in January, except a third of the state doesn’t know who he is. According to NJ.com, if the two ran against each other in 2013, the race would be a dead heat.

At the convention, Booker is poised to offer “the party’s platform” – the same exact job given to Obama in 2004, who awed the audience with his famous “there’s not a liberal America or a conservative America – there’s the United States of America” speech. It is unseen now whether or not he will mention the run against Christie at the convention but, if he did, expect the political blogosphere to go wild with joy (because that’s exactly what we need right now: another election).

The ironic part is that, this Monday, just days before the DNC, the Republicans will host their red circle-jerk in Tampa. And guess who’s the keynote speaker?

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Cuomo & Christie Complete Opposites on Marijuana Decriminalization… Kinda

This has been one hell of a week for marijuana in the Tri-State reefer scene.

After Governor Cuomo attempted to pass a bill that would have decriminalized the “public view” loophole of pot policy, Senate Republicans banded together to scalp the proposal before reaching a vote. Once the bill was dead, Cuomo called out the Senate Republican blockers for their “extreme conservative policy” and warned them that they’d face electoral consequences for the buzz-kill opposition. Now that the legislative deadline past last Thursday, it seems as if New York State and its voters will have to wait until January for any future attempts to smoke their weed in a much calmer (and legal) environment.
And then we found out that New Jersey, our neighbor to the west, and its state government were weighing a decriminalization bill akin to the one that died in Albany. It would make possession of a half ounce or less a summary violation – a major downgrade from the current situation, where possession lands you a $1,000 fine and possible jail time. The bill runs parallel to Jersey voters’ 58% approval rating of quasi-legalizing the cannabis and a vote is being pushed for this Monday to test this civilian-government relationship.
But, it turns out that Cuomo’s “extreme” Republican accusation stretches into Jersey territory. And it includes his colleague, Governor Chris Christie.

In his first statement ever on the whole pot decriminalization issue, the New Jersey Governor promised a crowd at a town hall meeting yesterday that he would veto the bill making its way through the state government. This move comes in absolute contrast to Cuomo; instead of leading the effort, Christie is making sure the effort chokes to death (in legislative terms, of course).

“The federal government still says marijuana is an illegal drug,” Christie remarked. “I don’t think we should send any sort of tacit approval to our children that somehow is not bad anymore.” Preferring the federal government over state rights? That’s not “extreme conservative philosophy,” as Cuomo declared; that’s just obedience.
But, there’s another (a much nicer) reason: in the next few months, New Jersey will be implementing a medical marijuana program that is strictly set up to help older patients with illnesses. And, because of this, Christie is worried that a decriminalization bill will interfere with the program’s initial upkeep because it would “be contrary to the message we’re sending.” That pot can help the severely ill or…? Also, Jersey could use the money, especially with this halfway house scandal escalating by the day.
Due to this veto threat, the bill has been sent back for amendments in order to clear the hurdle if Christie actually goes through with it. So, the expected vote on Monday is unlikely. Let’s see how the Jersey action plays out in the following days to come.