Powerful insiders and financiers in the Republican Party have started a behind-the-scenes campaign to get former Governor Jeb Bush to run for president in 2016, The Washington Post reports.
As Bush has been travelling and giving speeches, many of the major donors to Mitt Romney’s campaign have reached out and pushed him to run, The Post reported, citing interviews with 30 senior Republicans.
The report comes after he made comments attacking President Barack Obama and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday, which could be seen as a preemptive shot against a fellow Republican he may run against and the Democrats in general.
“He’s the most desired candidate out there,” Brian Ballard, a campaign bundler who worked in the Romney and McCain campaigns, told The Post. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.”
While the conversations have remained private, Bush has publicly dodged rumours of a possible candidacy. When one person told Bush during a question-and-answer session following his Thursday speech in Las Vegas that he should run, he responded with, “I’m going to ignore that one,” according to CNN.
“He is not in the middle of a formal process,” Sally Bradshaw, Bush’s long-time political counselor in Florida, told The Post. “He is methodical, he is thoughtful, and he’ll make a decision by the end of the year or the first quarter of next year.”
While the future of the Republican field is far from certain, all signs point to Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president. A January poll found Clinton with a 73-12 lead over Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical primary race, giving her the largest lead for the nomination ever.
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