Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is hosting his first ever fund-raiser on Wednesday night, with an event for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Zuckerberg's support shows the bipartisan appeal of Christie, and will help the governor raise money ahead of his gubernatorial run later this year — and possible presidential run in four years.
A guest list for the private event has not been released, but Christie's representative said it's meant for Zuckerberg and his wife's social network of friends. The maximum donation for New Jersey is a limit of $3,800, and is expected to attract some Silicon Valley heavy hitters.
Zuckerberg is not registered with either party. He attended a high profile dinner for President Obama at venture capitalist Jon Doerr's house in 2011, and hosted a town hall for Obama at Facebook.
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The social network's CEO and Governor have fostered a friendship over the past nearly three years. They met in 2010 before Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark public school, which he announced with Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker on Oprah.
On Oprah's couch, back on September 24, 2010, Zuckerberg explained: "We're setting up a $100 million challenge grant so that Mayor Booker and Governor Christie can have the flexibility that they need to implement new programs in Newark — and really make a difference and turn Newark into a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation."
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Zuckerberg's interest lies in improving education. Christie has been working on education reform, focusing on teachers unions and expanding charter schools. Zuckerberg recently stepped up his education-related philanthropy — in December he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated 18 million shares to the Silicon Valley Community foundation. At the time that donation was worth about $500 million, and its appreciated since then.
Zuckerberg also contributed $10,000 to Facebook's PAC, which donated $267,000 to both Democratic and Republican candidates over the past two years.
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The fund-raiser has drawn some opposition. The Democratic Governors Association posted a petition to pressure Zuckerberg to cancel his fund-raiser, though it pulled the petition down. And an Organization called Credo Action is planning a protest ahead of the fund-raiser this afternoon.
It sounds like it'll be a relatively quiet one, as the protesters respect the fact that it's a quiet residential neighborhood. The protesters are scheduled to make an appearance between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm pacific time.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin; Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin