- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - At least three members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 transition team are backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s likely bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, a longtime friend who served as chair of Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, contributed $10,000 to Bush’s political action committee in March, Bush spokesman Matt Gorman confirmed.

Christie introduced Kyrillos to his wife, but men’s relationship has been strained since Kyrillos ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2012. Kyrillos declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

Former Christie donor attorney Gail Gordon gave $1,000 to Bush’s political action committee. She is married to Democratic state Sen. Bob Gordon, against whom Christie has campaigned.

Gordon, who has long ties with the Bush family, said she found Bush’s potential candidacy “immensely appealing” thanks to his views on issues including foreign policy and education.

“In my particular case, it’s less negative about Chris Christie and more overwhelmingly positive about Jeb Bush,” she said.

Another transition team member, Brian Nelson, contributed $1,000 to Bush’s PAC. He said in an email that he thinks the contribution “speaks for itself.”

A spokeswoman for Christie’s political action committee responded to the Kyrillos contribution in a statement Tuesday evening.

“Gov. Christie has had a long time personal friendship with Joe and Susan Kyrillos and there is nothing that will happen in politics that will ever change his respect and regard for either of them,” spokeswoman Samantha Smith said in an email.

Christie says he’ll formally announce his intentions about a potential run later in spring to early summer.

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