UPDATE (9:30 p.m.) - A Republican Governor's Association spokesperson says the event Thursday night raised approximately $1 million for the organization, and that Governor Chris Christie will continue to fundraise in several states in the next weeks and months, including Utah, Georgia, Connecticut and Michigan.
(NECN: Alison King) - Two of the biggest names in the Republican Party, 2012 Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, will be in Massachusetts Thursday night for a fundraiser to support the RGA - the Republican Governor's Association.
Seems like a great opportunity for Charlie Baker, the party's leading candidate for Massachusetts governor, to press the flesh with the party big wigs and make major inroads with an organization that could donate millions to his campaign, right?
Well, not exactly.
That's because Christie, the RGA chair, is currently embroiled in a scandal in his home state that casts him as a revenge-seeking bully. Whether that's true or not doesn't really matter for Baker's purposes as much as the perception of it all.
"It's a tight rope that he needs to walk. The Democrats are going to be raising mountains of cash against Charlie Baker. They just opened up a new political action committee expressly for that purpose. So Charlie has to go and get every last dime he can from the Republican Governor's Association," GOP political analyst Meredith Warren said.
Warren adds Baker should avoid any and all Christie photo ops.
"The Democrats are going to be looking for every little bit of ammunition against Charlie Baker," Warren said.
Democrats are already pouncing. Hours before the event, Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano joined a congressman from New Jersey and the Massachusetts Democratic Party chair - all of whom slammed the Christie visit and Baker's participation in it.
Of the "Bridgegate" scandal, Capuano called Christie's behavior demeaning.
"Never, never, never intentionally go out of the way to hurt the people you represent, the people you've asked to support you in order to embarrass one political opponent. I think that's disgraceful. It's an embarrassment to have Governor Christie in Massachusetts today," he said.
Charlie Baker was not available for comment, but last week he told NECN's Jim Braude that he still supports Christie as the RGA Chair.
"If it turns out there's an issue here, than that's gong to be a problem, not just for me, but it's going to be a problem for him. He said he doesn't know about it and I believe him," Baker said.