Donors who were set on funding Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign are now considering supporting former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as Bush has signaled more of an interest to run after Christie’s Bridgegate scandal.
According to The New York Times, “a number of the donors and fund-raisers acknowledged that the interest in Mr. Bush was a measure of the creeping doubts about Mr. Christie’s ability to either fully rebound from his troubles or to win over conservative skeptics to secure the Republican nomination.” Though many are aware that Christie does not take disloyalty or slights well, the donors are willing to back Bush because they have been more concerned about Christie’s “temperament and management.”
They also think that Bush may be just as moderate as Christie, which Wall Street funders believe is the key to winning over swing voters rather than strong and bold principles. In fact, the donors implied that they favored Bush on amnesty and Common Core.
Bush would, as the Times notes, already have the “backing of a still-potent national network of wealthy Republican donors and bundlers who propelled three Bushes to high office and who provided Mitt Romney with an overwhelming fund-raising advantage in 2012.”
Many of those donors were “Rangers and Pioneers” who bundled money for George W. Bush and would like to see a third Bush in the White House.
Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, whose beliefs are often emblematic of moderate Northeastern Republicans as a whole, said it “would be very awkward” to choose Bush over Christie.
“I don’t know that Chris will be there at the end of the day,” she told the Times, perhaps reflecting the sentiment of other donors who are similarly on the fence between Bush and Christie.