Kyrillos recruits several troops in face of likely Jersey stampede to McCain

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is endorsing Sen. John McCain for president, and the McCain camp in New Jersey anticipates welcoming into its collective arms that grim exodus of former Giuliani supporters.

"What will happen, presuming published reports are somewhat accurate, is that a good portion of them will be joining us," said Larry Bathgate, national finance co-chairman of the McCain campaign.

Sen. Joe Kyrillos, state chairman of the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign,hopes tostem the stampede.Today he corralled at least some former Giuliani partisans, dislodged from Giuliani's ranks after the former mayor's devastating loss in the Florida primary on Tuesday.

They are: Ken LeFevre, former Assemblyman and Atlantic County Republican Chairman; Assemblyman Sam Thompson (District 13); Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (District 12); Bob Prunetti, former Mercer County Executive; John Eckdahl, Mayor of Rumson; Jim Allen, former Mayor of Morris Township and Chester Township; and Luis Linares of the Republican Hispanic Association.

But sources close to Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore said the state chairman of the Giuliani campaign wouldimminently prod his circle of Giuliani supporters into the McCain camp.

For many it's a natural migration.

Assembly Minority Whip Jon Bramnick, who is close to McCain State Campaign Chairman Sen. Bill Baroni, accompanied the latter to D.C. last year to meet with McCain and to consider givingthe Arizona senatorhis support.

He likedMcCainand was set to endorse him.

"Then I got a call from anold friend of mine who I grew up with in Plainfield, and he asked meif I'd get on board with Giuliani," said Bramnick.

Bramnickcalled Baroni, apologized, and told him he wouldbe backing local heroGiuliani over Navy hero McCain.

"He told me he completely understood,"recalled Bramnick, whonow at last is in the McCain camp.

UPDATE: There will be a McCain campaign press conference regarding new endorsements at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the State House. Kyrillos recruits several troops in face of likely Jersey stampede to McCain