By Melanie Batley
All eyes are set on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to see whether he might throw his hat into the ring for the 2016 presidential campaign, a prospect many in the GOP believe could give the party its strongest rival to Hillary Clinton.
People close to the Republican say he is considering a bid more seriously than ever before, and believe his record and personality could be just the right combination to give him star appeal across the country, according to The Hill.
“I’ve never seen him so seriously considering a run for higher office,” Slater Bayliss, a Florida GOP lobbyist and former Bush aide, told The Hill. “He’s legitimately going through a very methodical, thoughtful process to come to a decision.”
The Hill reports that many party strategists believe Bush could transform the electoral map, “turning blue states purple and purple states red.”
On the other hand, the paper says, a third Bush in the White House could strike voters as too “dynastic,” an obstacle that Bush has recently acknowledged.
Nevertheless, Bush appears capable of leading on the key issues expected to define the 2016 campaign, including immigration and education reform. His multicultural family could also be an asset; his wife is from Mexico, and he speaks Spanish fluently, two things that could help the GOP capture the crucial Latino vote, according to The Hill.
Meanwhile, polls are showing that other potential establishment front-runners, such as N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have seen their star power fade to the possible benefit of Bush.
In the last few months, Bush has been careful to say he has decided whether to run. He has said he is deferring a decision until later in the year and would only consider running if he could do so “joyfully” and in an environment without much acrimony.
Allies are hoping he will make the decision in favor of jumping in, and do so soon, according to The Hill.
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