Members of the Maine People’s Alliance held a protest today at a lunchtime fundraiser hosted by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on behalf of Governor Paul LePage. They picketed the Lewiston event in order to bring attention to the two governor’s deep ties to conservative corporate interests.
“When it comes to LePage and the Koch brothers, they bought him when they saw him,” said MPA member Jim Lysen. “They’ve given millions to support his campaigns and he has given them exactly what they want – rolling back environmental protections, cutting health care and attacking unions.”
Oil magnates Charles and David Koch have given more than $2.5 million to the RGA this cycle and the group has in turn spent more than $2 million backing LePage. Other groups backed by the Kochs have also been active in the race. LePage has promoted a number of policies espoused by the Kochs, including vetoing five bipartisan attempts to accept federal funding to expand health care coverage. He also recently even cancelled regulations requiring the disclosure of formaldehyde in children’s products after Koch Industries, a major formaldehyde producer, lobbied against the protections.
Both Christie and LePage have similar profiles as combative politicians, both of their administrations have seen their share of scandals and mismanagement and both figures are deeply unpopular in their home states. 45% of New Jersey voters in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today said they had a negative view of Christie. 58% of voters in a BDN-Ipsos poll also released today reported having an unfavorable view of LePage.
“LePage and Christie aren’t popular with voters, but they don’t seem to care. They’re more interested in making friends with big corporate donors at the expense of regular people,” said Lysen.
Christie’s visit comes on the heels of a fundraiser held last month in New Jersey where a number of Christie confidants gave to LePage, including figures involved in the “Bridgegate” scandal and John Inglesino, the attorney who famously financed the lawsuit of Rachel Canning against her parents. The $86,635 raised during the event represents almost a quarter of LePage's total contributions during the most recent filing period.