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February 06, 2014 3:22 PM Arms Length

By Ed Kilgore

Amidst all the talk of vulnerable Democratic candidates “keeping their distance” from Barack Obama, it’s good to see (via Bob Jordan of the Asbury Park Press) there’s a Republican encountering the same problem:

Not even a trip to the Lone Star State is allowing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to get away from the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Christie, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is scheduled to visit Fort Worth and Dallas for fundraisers Thursday, but the state’s likely GOP gubernatorial nominee, Greg Abbott, won’t be putting out the welcome mat. Abbott will be hundreds of miles away, giving a policy speech in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who isn’t seeking re-election, won’t be around, either.
Democrats said it’s another sign that Republicans are nervous about Christie’s problems in New Jersey.
Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said the concerns may be warranted.
When Christie visited Florida three weeks ago on behalf of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Rick Scott participated, but the two men refused to meet with reporters or pose for pictures together.
“This could be a coincidence, but it is also very convenient for Scott and Abbott. Both have their own challenges, and naturally they don’t want to add Christie’s challenges on top,” Sabato said.

If this atmosphere continues, you can expect some conservatives aware of Christie’s ideological problems with fellow-Republicans to move from distancing to triangulation with respect to the New Jersey governor. When that happens, his 2016 presidential prospects (never that strong, IMO, and recently much-faded) will vanish.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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