Romney’s attendance at the Thursday fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by an aide, is a signal to the party’s donor class that he is standing by Christie as he fights to weather the fallout from the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal. Aides to Christie allegedly conspired to shut a lane of the bridge in September out of apparent political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.

Christie has come under pressure as chairman of the RGA to step aside due to the distractions of the scandal. Meanwhile, he has launched an aggressive fundraising schedule to raise money to elect other Republican governors.

The New Jersey governor is looking to follow in the footsteps of Romney, who used his RGA chairmanship in 2006 as a springboard for a campaign for higher office. The RGA has brought in more than $18 million since Christie took the helm of the group last November, setting a new fundraising record for the organization.