Mitt Romney to get Chris Christie and his donors

Mitt Romney is not only hoovering up all of Chris Christie’s donors. Fox News is reporting that Christie is going to throw his weight behind Romney too.

Last week, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put what seemed like the 2,000th nail in his presidential campaign coffin, Decoder wrote that savvy observers would look to see whether Mitt Romney or Rick Perry snapped up those GOP moneymen once breathing hard for a Christie bid.

In the very short term, Romney is winning that race – and it’s not even close.

From around the web, here are some top donors hoovered up by the Romney camp and why they matter:

Paul Singer: A top get nationwide, Singer – a financial services executive who brings “policy chops” to the table as the head of the conservative Manhattan Institute – is one of the nation’s biggest GOP bundlers, POLITICO writes. (What’s a bundler, you ask? NPR did a great briefing on this, but in short bundlers not only cut their own checks to a candidate – they have a proven ability to get others in their network to put up their own money, too.)

Ken Langone: The co-founder of Home Depot was a major Christie backer and carries serious financial heft, as The Hill writes.

James Lee, Jr. and John A. Catsimatidis: The New York Times writes that Lee, a JPMorgan executive and Catsimatidis, a supermarket magnate, were both big hitters for George Bush’s election efforts (Lee to the tune of $500,000.)

The end of the Christie speculation may have also eased Romney’s ability to pick up more of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s one-time backers. Ray Washburne, a Dallas real estate/restaurant mogul has piled on to Team Romney along with Pawlenty, Washburne’s one-time candidate of choice.

And for good measure, Romney picked up disaffected Obama donors Daniel Loeb and Clifford Asness, prominent (which equals “mega wealthy”) hedge fund managers. Asness’ purchase of a $700 bottle of wine at a dinner with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (R) generated a tiny tempest in the Washington teapot earlier this year.

Why does this matter? For all intents and purposes, these donors are the GOP establishment. Getting them behind Romney’s candidacy doesn’t guarantee success – but there are only so many megabucks political donors to go around. Lining them up not only deprives Romney’s chief competitor, Rick Perry, of donor oxygen but makes it even harder for an insurgent candidate like Herman Cain or Ron Paul to gain traction.

Talk back to Decoder:

In our survey, we could only find one Christie-Perry donor connection: Iowa casino owner Gary Kirke. If you find others, send us a line.

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