The Tennessee Republican Party has recruited a GOP lightning rod to keynote its annual fundraiser. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will speak at the Statesmen’s Dinner in May.
The presumed presidential candidate took some time away from the spotlights after his administration caused a massive traffic jam as political payback. Since then, Christie’s events have attracted hecklers.
Besides being a controversial figure at the moment, Christie is also seen as less conservative. But state GOP chairman Chris Devaney says that’s exactly why Tennessee Republicans have something to learn from him considering the party’s effort to win local races in Democratic stronghold’s like Nashville.
“He’s proven the Republican Party can win in deep blue areas when we articulate thoughtful, conservative solutions,” Devaney said in a written statement. “We’re in the midst of a Republican revolution at the county and judicial level and we look forward to hearing what lessons we can take from Governor Christie’s track record of success.”
Asked for his thoughts, Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) said he’s happy to host the New Jersey governor.
“He’s a firm, decisive leader, and I respect that about him,” Casada said. “Politically, we probably do disagree on a lot of things.”
U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina keynoted last year’s Statesmen’s Dinner, which brought in $500,000. Previous speakers include Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Vice President Dick Cheney and Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.