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.