New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visits Portillo's restaurant on Friday afternoon along with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times
Chris Christie brings $2.5 million gift for Rauner
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Chicago Friday and gave Republican Bruce Rauner $2.5 million.
With that the Republican Governors Association more than doubled its financial support of Rauner’s campaign for governor.
Christie, the association’s chairman and a potential presidential candidate, appeared with Rauner at Portillo’s in River North.
“This is amongst the most important governor’s races in the country,” Christie told reporters.
The money is “just another down payment on what we’re going to do,” he said, promising to come back to Illinois in the future.
The RGA had already funneled $1.5 million to the Rauner campaign this year, becoming on Friday the campaign’s largest single donor — outside of Rauner himself.
The GOP governors’ group eclipsed billioniare hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, who has given Rauner more than $3.5 million.
Rauner and Christie couldn’t dodge questions from reporters about gun-control issues. Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn has been lambasting Rauner for opposing a ban on military-style assault weapons.
Rauner called a non-binding ballot measure in Cook County asking voters whether military-style weapons should be banned a “distraction.”
“Gov. Quinn is failing on true public safety issues,” Rauner said. “We need a strong economy with jobs for our young people, so they don’t get drawn into gangs; we need world-class schools so our young people see a future for themselves where they train for the jobs that are available and we need a well staffed, well supported police force that can protect the public. Pat Quinn has failed on all those issues and he’s creating distraction by encouraging these kind of toothless referenda.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has said the ballot measure was a continuation of the Cook County Board’s attempt to reduce gun violence — not part of a coordinated effort with Quinn.
On gun issues, Rauner also said, “I support common sense restrictions around gun ownership – background checks for criminals and mental illness, etc. Going really far along those issues creates constitutional questions.”
The two also touched on the issue of children who are crossing the border and are being placed in cities around the country.
Christie criticized the Obama Administration for not alerting state officials about kids being sent to their states.
“The fact that the federal government is withholding this information from the governors of the states they’re placing this children, it’s outrageous,” Christie said, adding “We need to know if they’re moving folks into our state.”
Rauner and Christie ordered milkshakes and hot dogs at Portillo’s — a jumbo chili cheese with onions for Christie and a jumbo hot dog for Rauner. Christie said he ordered the loaded hot dog because “It’s what I like, baby. I order what I like.”
Then the two headed to a fund-raiser at the Chicago Hilton in the South Loop.
Tickets ran from $500 to $2,500.
Outside the hotel, more than 100 protesters chanted “We’ll remember in November.”
They were advocating for a myriad of issues, including raising the minimum wage and gun control.
Among those in the crowd was Garrett Evans, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre.
“What do you need a military-style weapon for?” said Evans, who lives on the Near West Side. “There’s no reason.”