Christie headlining Lonegan fundraiser

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Despite controversy swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the George Washington Bridge scandal, he seems to still be a fundraising draw.

The governor is set to headline a Thursday fundraiser for Steve Lonegan, the failed Republican Senate candidate who announced this month he plans to run for retiring Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R-N.J.) seat. The former Bogota mayor also lost to Christie in the 2009 GOP primary for governor. 

The fundraiser will benefit Lonegan’s Senate campaign, which, at the start of November, posted more than $160,000 in debt.

According to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time blog, tickets for the event cost $1,000. New Jersey GOP Reps. Scott Garrett, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Leonard Lance, as well as Bill Palatucci, a fundraiser and Christie adviser, are all co-hosting the event.

Lonegan lost to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in last year's special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) in a race that turned out much closer than expected. His candidacy for Runyan's seat has some Republicans worried he could jeopardize the party's chances at holding the seat, as he was known during his campaign for off-color statements about his opponent and is considered too conservative for the district.