New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held a big-ticket fundraiser for his presidential campaign in Annapolis Thursday evening with Gov. Larry Hogan as his headline guest.
It was Christie's first Maryland fundraiser since he announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination.
The two Republicans were met by a welcoming committee of critics as advocates for working families protested outside the site to urge Hogan not to emulate Christie's policies in New Jersey.
The event was closed to the media. Tickets are listed at $1,000 for admission and $2,700 per person for a photo with the candidate.
Hogan has been an outspoken supporter of Christie since the New Jersey governor threw the financial backing of the Republican Governors Association behind the Marylander's long shot campaign against Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown last year. Meanwhile, Christie has been a highly visible supporter of Hogan's fight against cancer, wearing the green wristband for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on public occasions.
Christie has been lagging in single digits in recent polls of the field of candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016.
About a dozen members of Maryland Working Families and New Jersey Working Families gathered outside the the Loew's Hotel in Annapolis to criticize Hogan's record in his home state. However, they failed to confront Christie because the candidate entered through back entrance.
Annalilia Mejia, director of the New Jersey group, said she came to Annapolis from Newark to tell Marylanders what she said New Jersey residents already know.
"Chris Christie has actually been really bad for the state of New Jersey. Bad for New Jersey working families," Mejia said. "We've had a increase in poverty. We lead the nation in foreclosures. We have not recovered from the economic downturn."
The groups also complained that the New Jersey governor has pledged to veto a bill guaranteeing earned to workers in that state -- an issue they expect to push in the Maryland General Assembly next year.
As he entered the hotel for the fundraiser, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford dismissed the protest across West Street.
"Did you see the seven protesters out there? I think three of them were waiting for a bus," he said.