- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Potential presidential candidate New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is set to mingle with some of Virginia’s biggest GOP donors with some help from former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

An invitation obtained by The Associated Press shows Cantor is co-hosting a meet and greet for Christie at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond on Feb. 26.

Other co-hosts are Dominion Resources Inc. CEO Thomas Farrell II, business executive William H. Goodwin Jr., and Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Christie is among several potential GOP presidential candidates who are making a point to visit swing state Virginia.

On Tuesday, the Republican Party of Virginia is set to hold a fundraiser with former Gov. Rick Perry as the headliner.

Last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the main draw at a Richmond fundraiser for the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group that helps state-level Republicans.

With so many would-be candidates vying for to be the GOP candidate, Virginia could play an unusually important role in the nomination process.

“This year, all bets are off,” said Kilberg, who organized a meeting between Christie and technology executives in northern Virginia last month.

Republican presidential hopeful are likely to find many of the same tensions between establishment and tea party Republicans in Virginia that have played out in national politics. Those tensions help little-known economics professor Dave Brat topple Cantor’s re-election bid in the Richmond area congressional district last summer in the GOP primary.


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