Can Christie still be the GOP's rainmaker with donors?

While Christie is still slated to attend three private fundraisers for Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign on Saturday, a joint public appearance has been ruled out. It’s a sign that that the bridge scandal will hamstring his performance as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Until the uproar winds down—and there’s no sign of that happening anytime soon—the charismatic New Jersey governor is a more effective surrogate behind closed doors.

“Christie’s recent foibles take attention away from Gov. Scott, and I wish that was different,” said Scott’s former campaign manager, Susie Wiles, who doesn’t have a formal role in his reelection bid. “It’s unfortunate timing.”…

“Everyone thinks this Christie thing is a real boo-boo,” said Al Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman, who added that the governor remains on his 2016 short list, along with Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. “Christie has got to win his way back into favor. I think donors want to wait and see.”

A successful term at the helm of the RGA is widely viewed as a stepping stone to a national campaign. Former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Rick Perry both served as RGA chairmen before running for president. Jindal, a potential Christie rival in 2016, just concluded his chairmanship and is serving as vice chairman this year. Leading the RGA allows governors harboring national ambition to travel around the country, raise their national profile and connect with donors, all while rallying voters around colleagues seeking reelection.