Facebook Founder Zuckerberg To Fundraise For Christie

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(CNN) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will host a fundraiser for New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election bid, a Christie finance source confirmed Thursday.

The event will take place February 13 at the young billionaire’s home in Palo Alto, California. A Facebook spokeswoman said Zuckerberg appreciates education reform efforts made in New Jersey.

“Mark and (his wife) Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system,” Sarah Feinberg said. “They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark’s school children. Mark and Priscilla are happy to host him at their home to support his re-election.”

BuzzFeed first reported the story.

Bill Palatucci, Christie adviser, said the trip will be “the beginning of a number of out-of-state trips we’ll be having to raise money to support the Governor’s re-election effort.”

“We announced last week that we will not be taking New Jersey’s matching funds so we can raise as much as we can from donors,” he announced.

This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has been tied to Christie, who’s considered to be a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. The young billionaire appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2010 with the governor and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, to announce a $100 million donation to improving schools in the city.

Zuckerberg praised the state’s education reform efforts. According to Booker at the time, 50% of high school students in Newark did not graduate. Booker and Christie hoped that their new plan will provide a model for education reform nationwide.

While Booker was considering a challenge against Christie in this year’s gubernatorial election, the popular Democratic mayor decided instead to explore a 2014 Senate bid against Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a fellow Democrat.

Zuckerberg did not make any endorsements in the presidential race last year, but Facebook’s political action committee dropped money in some elections. The group spent $267,500 on federal candidates: 47% to Democrats, 53% to Republicans, according to the Federal Election Commission.

CNN’s Ashley Killough, Kevin Liptak and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

By Peter Hamby – CNN Political Reporter

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