Thursday night’s Republican Governors Association fundraiser featuring New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, was initially scheduled for a private home in Newton Corner.
But Christie’s status as the onetime presumptive frontrunner for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination, now ensnared in a controversy over punitive traffic re-direction complicated things. The event, intended to be a staid and intimate affair, instead rocketed into the national political limelight.
The intended host, New Balance chairman Jim Davis, is a generous political benefactor, but eschews media attention, including the reporters who flocked to his home on Thursday afternoon.
Instead, the RGA fundraiser will take place at the Lenox Hotel on Boylston Street, said a person familiar with the event.
The new locale was shrouded in mystery for much of the afternoon. Aides to Baker, who has made much on the campaign trail about his commitment to transparency, refused to say where the fundraiser would take place. The RGA also declined to identify the venue.
Such sensitivity points to the delicate political position Baker finds himself in, attempting to appeal to moderate voters while still hoping to benefit from the financial largesse at stake when two of the biggest names in national Republican politics are in the same room.
At the Lenox Hotel Thursday evening, Baker and his wife, Lauren, declined to speak about the event. “I don’t have anything to say,” Baker said as the couple walked into the hotel bar.
Meanwhile, a Chevy Suburban with New Jersey plates was parked outside a hotel entrance shortly before 6pm.
The anticipated haul from the fundraiser, where roughly 20 attendees were expected, was about $1 million, the person with knowledge of the event said.
Davis was not expected to attend.