Jeb Bush vs. Chris Christie

You know 2016 is already on when donors formerly fond of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) start telling the press they are going to have to place their hopes on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). Not even willing to wait until after the midterm elections to talk about this?

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In a New York Times piece Friday, donors admitted that until Bush began seriously flirting with the prospect of running, they had no choice but to hope Christie could overcome his baggage associated with the scandal in which his employees closed down traffic on the nation's largest bridge in an act of political retribution. Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association — where he is raising record sums — has been working hard to move past Bridgegate and win over those who will bankroll the GOP presidential campaign. But many donors not only did not expect Bush to flirt with a run, they consider him less of a risk now that Christie is still considered tainted and far from reaching a point where he can clear his name.

"They feel good about Jeb," Barry Wynn, who raised money for Jeb's brother, President George W. Bush, and chaired the Republican Party in South Carolina, told the Times. "They don't have any questions about his integrity."

There are many quotes on the record, which is notable since Christie, known to hold a grudge, could end up back in contention should Bush decide against running for president after all. "Nobody is going to count anybody out or do anything to annoy a friend who is the governor of your state," Lawrence Bathgate, a New Jersey political donor, told the Times. Bathgate admitted he was loath to choose sides but then said, "I could easily wind up in the Jeb column."

Ouch.

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