According to The Washington Post, Bush spokesman Tim Miller confirmed that Kyrillos is backing the son and brother of 41st and 43rd presidents to become the 45th. Kyrillos contributed $10,000 to Bush’s political action committee last month.
The news that Kyrillos is supporting Bush over his decades long friend and ally, Governor Chris Christie, caps the news cycle for a day in which a Quinnipiac Poll reported that New Jersey voters don’t approve of the Governor’s job performance at home and don’t think he would make a good president. A CNN poll also released Monday places Christie in 7th place among GOP presidential hopefuls with support of only 4% or Republicans and Republican leaning Independents nationally. Just four months ago, a full year after the Bridgegate scandal broke, Christie ranked second for the 2016 GOP nomination in CNN’s poll with support of 13% of the respondents.
Chairman of Christie’s successful 2009 gubernatorial campaign, the two men have been personal friends and political allies for decades. Kyrillos swore Christie into his first elected office, Morris County Freeholder, in 1994. Christie introduced Kyrillos to his wife Susan.
Contrary to reports that their relationship soured over Christie’s lukewarm support for his 2012 U.S. Senate bid and Christie choosing Jeff Chiesa to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate, Kyrillos was still solidly in Christie’s presidential corner through 2013. Kyrillos was one of six Republican state senators to go along with Christie’s unsuccessful attempt to replace Tom Kean, Jr as Senate Minority Leader in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 election. Christie was reelected by 21 points in that election but had no coattails in the legislative races as Democrats retained control of both houses of the State Legislature.
Sources close to Kyrillos said that revelations during the Bridgegate investigation are what lead the senator to question the presidential timber of his long term friend and ally, Christie.
Kyrillos’s relationship with Bush and the Bush family also goes back decades. Kyrillos worked for Vice President George H. W. Bush during the 1984 Reagan-Bush reelection campaign and landed a job as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel during the first two years of the second Reagan term. As Chairman of the NJGOP from 2001-2004, Kyrillos deepened his relationship with Bush who was them Governor of Florida and brother of the President. Bush held a successful fundraiser for Kyrillos’s 2012 U. S. Senate bid.