A June fundraiser is being organized by several prominent New Jersey Republicans to support the potential 2016 presidential candidacy of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican source has told PolitickerNJ.
The defection of state Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13), a longtime ally of New Jersey Governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, to Bush’s side is now well known.
According to the source, other prominent Garden State Republicans are now whole-heartedly getting on the Bush bandwagon by organizing a June fundraiser. Reportedly included among the organizers are Gail Gordon, a Republican donor, fundraiser and operative who had been on Christie’s finance committee; and Lawrence Bathgate, a prominent New Jersey attorney who served as the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The New York Observer, PolitickerNJ’s sister publication, previously reported that Bathgate and Gordon joined Kyrillos at a private January dinner in New York where Jeb Bush spoke to a small group of political and financial insiders.
State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) is also among the reported organizers of a potential New Jersey fundraiser for Bush in June, according to the Republican source. Christie recently tried to oust Kean from his leadership position, a move that provoked the ire of the legislator’s father, former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean.
“These are more insider Republicans that are waiting to defect to Jeb,” the source said. “At a potential kickoff fundraiser for Bush in June, you will see many familiar New Jersey faces stepping up to the plate and coming out to support him.”
The timing of the projected June event is important. Governor Christie has publicly stated that he will make a decision about whether or not to run for President by late May or early June.
“Bush is trying to be respectful of Christie on his home turf,” the GOP source said. “But any Bush campaign is going to have to start seriously raising money in New Jersey soon.”