Why do Connecticut Republicans love Christie?

Of course I understand why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is happy to sail gaily forth into the fall election season, wearing a public smiley face that belies the four investigations into his administration underway.

One of those, a criminal probe by the New Jersey federal prosecutor, a President Obama appointee, is reported to be close to some indictments, with a grand jury hard at work. I suspect they will be done long before the primaries for the 2016 presidential race are in full swing.

If I were Christie, I, too, would be happy to get out of the state and hit the campaign trail, any campaign trail.

But why are Connecticut Republicans tripping over themselves for a photo opportunity with the scandal-plagued New Jersey governor?

Christie helicoptered into Connecticut last week - a junket paid for in part by Connecticut Republicans - for a fundraiser featuring GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley. Foley's opponent in the August primary, John McKinney, was lucky to dodge a Christie endorsement and last week's fundraiser in Greenwich.

Competing Connecticut GOP candidates for lieutenant governor jostled for Christie love like needy schoolchildren.

David Walker, who wasn't in Greenwich, publicly complained that his opponent, Heather Bond Somers, the former mayor of Groton, crashed the party.

Somers' campaign shot back that she was indeed invited to Greenwich and even had paid the $1,000 cost of admission.

She should have stayed in Groton.

Shouldn't these Republicans in very blue Connecticut start paying attention to what voters think?

After all, a recent poll in pretty red Florida showed that more voters there dislike the New Jersey governor than like him. He polled at the bottom of the pack of potential presidential candidates.

The Christie-Connecticut GOP hug reminds me of the way the gubernatorial candidates, including both Foley and McKinney, all embraced the tea party shutdown of Washington.

It doesn't seem like a good strategy for winning over Connecticut moderates, who are key to taking back the governor's mansion.

Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel Malloy seemed to be energized to have his nemesis from New Jersey right here in Connecticut last week.

When I asked Foley why he seemed so happy to welcome Christie to Connecticut, he praised the New Jersey governor for his fine skills as a politician. Then he complained how rudely Malloy treated a visiting governor from a neighboring state.

Foley has a point about Connecticut's governor publicly dissing a visiting governor, no matter how much they may hate each other.

Indeed, both Christie and Malloy appear to drift easily into a hair-pulling contest whenever slightly provoked. It has long seemed that Malloy resents Christie's national prominence, even when the publicity is negative.

Besides, Malloy was having a bad week anyway, what with some of his job-buying programs blowing up in his face like exploding cigars.

First there was the paperboard company laying off 140 workers in Sprague, despite the state recently granting the company a $3 million low-interest loan. Also last week, the ticket sales company that Malloy once promised $7 million in state grants and low-interest loans settled an Unfair Trade Practices complaint and agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Malloy's big aid package to the ticket company actually was canceled a while ago, after a scandal in which the company's CEO was arrested for flinging racial slurs and grabbing women's breasts at a party.

Christie notwithstanding, Foley might be able to claim to keep better company.

Christie vowed last week to continue visiting Connecticut a lot before the gubernatorial election.

I would call that a curse more than a blessing for his GOP hosts here.

This is the opinion of David Collins


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