As his hometown presidential hopeful Marco Rubio fumbles for a coherent response to ISIS and his state's attentions have been riveted to the Charlie Crist-Rick Scott slugfest, Jeb Bush has mostly kept his head low in Coral Gables. But if Dubya's hermano isn't 100 percent running for president just yet, he's sure starting to act like a guy on the brink of declaring.
Just this week, Bush has headlined a heavy hitter GOP fundraiser in Tampa and announced plans to visit several key primary states. CNBC, meanwhile, talked to his inner circle and reports today that "Bush is almost certain to run."
Of course, Bush has spent the past eight years as a perennial GOP dark horse, with Republican strategists forever whispering in his ear about taking back the White House.
A few things have presumably held him back. For one, his wife, Columba, is reportedly unhappy with the idea of moving back into the political spotlight. There's also his long, unsavory trail of business deals since leaving elected office more than a decade ago that could complicate a political run.
But all signs lately are pointing to Bush moving past both those roadblocks.
Yesterday, Bush started a string of planned high-profile fundraisers in Tampa, where a lineup of heavy hitter Republican donors gathered for an event chartered by Floridians for a Senate Majority, a group backing a slew of GOP Senate hopefuls around the country.
The event isn't Bush's only chance to rub shoulders with the GOP's financiers. He'll be headlining another gig in key primary battleground South Carolina next month, and will soon roll on to Kansas and North Carolina.
What's it all add up to? CNBC reports that although Bush won't make a final call until November, his friends and allies are increasingly sure he'll throw his hat in the ring.
One person who met with Bush recently told me the former governor spoke passionately on foreign policy and economics and sounded very much like someone who plans to mount a presidential campaign. This person said Bush's main concern remains the impact of a campaign on his family, particularly his wife Columba, who does not like politics or the limelight.
Jeb isn't so fond of Chris Cristie as a moderate candidate, CNBC says, and thinks libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul would be an "electoral disaster" if matched up with likely Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton.
So if everything plays out predictably, America, another Bush-Clinton showdown in 2016 is looking more and more likely. Yay democracy?
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