Facebook announced Thursday that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will host his first political fundraiser at his home for... New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Which begs the question: Is the world's most famous young exec actually a conservative wolf in a Silicon Valley hoodie? And all signs point to, well, possibly. Zuckerberg is registered to vote without a party preference, according to The Wall Street Journal's Heather Haddon, adding that he has voted in the last two general elections. But isn't this the guy who's hung out with President Obama on more than one occasion? Or is this now the Zuckerberg who "liked" Mitt Romney and is falling for Christie just like everyone else already thinking about 2016 a bit early. Here's a mini-investigation into what we know:
Option No. 1: Mark Zuckerberg is a Republican!
- Zuckerberg will host a fundraiser next month for Christie's out-of-state swing as prepares to run for re-election. A Facebook spokesperson claimed that Zuckerberg admires Christie for his leadership on education reform and "other issues." Hmmm... what issues? Christie has been bullish on solar power and biotech as job creators, but then again, he's pretty bullish on everything.
- Facebook has hired a bunch of Republican lobbyists over the last couple of years, but then again, a lot of regulatory lobbyists are Republicans.
- Zuckerberg once "liked" former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Facebook, but then again, it was one of the biggest pages on Facebook last year.
- Last election, Facebook's PAC gave more money to Republicans than Democrats, but then again, Facebook has a lot of friends to make in Washington over constant privacy and anti-trust battles.
- Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires tend to skew libertarian because of a fear of government oversight, but then again, even libertarian-leaning business leaders can love Obama.
Option No. 2: Mark Zuckerberg is really just another young Democrat...
- Zuckerberg held a town-hall meeting for President Obama during his campaign in 2011. He even put away his sweatshirt in exchange a tie and jacket, just for the occasion. They also attended a Silicon Valley dinner together. Only a secret Republican wouldn't say anything gushy, right?
- The relationship with Christie has more to do with his position on schools than anything else, the Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins. "Mark and Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system," said Facebook's Sarah Feinberg. "They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark's schoolchildren." Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark's schools back in 2010. Then Christie ceded control to Democratic mayor Corey Booker to reform the schools. Christie's camp says the relationship with Zuckerberg represents the governor's bipartisan appeal. "It’s indicative of how strong his appeal is across the political spectrum," Christie's campaign strategist, Mark DuHaime, told the Journal. And everybody loves Christie, right?
- Zuck's Mitt Romney "like" was more mocking than endorsing. He actually "liked" this point made by Slate's Farhad Manjoo. Only a Democrat would make a joke like that, right?
Option No. 3: He's probably just in-between.
Zuckerberg certainly isn't a card-carrying member of the GOP — he isn't registered with the party. However, like many Silicon Valley tech dudes who suddenly came into a pile of money and want to run a company without all that government oversight, he probably has lost some of his left-leaning, free-information-for-all tendencies. And Zuckerberg's relationship with Christie, it seems, doesn't have a lot to do with any of that. But maybe the meeting of these unlikely admirers will lead Zuckerberg to speak out on politics a bit more.