A group of top Republican donors have reportedly begun an intense effort to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the race for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
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A Washington Post report quotes one major donor as saying that the “vast majority” of the top 100 givers to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney would back Bush in a nomination fight.
The report also claims that a hard press has begun to get Bush into the race because conservative leaders and longtime Republican operatives are concerned about the electoral viability of New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Christie’s standing and poll numbers, both nationally and among Republicans, have been damaged by the ongoing investigation into whether he knew of access lane closures to the George Washington Bridge ordered by his staff as apparent political retaliation.
On the other hand, Paul’s libertarian views on matters like surveillance by the National Security Agency and his perceived softness on foreign policy has also raised red flags in the GOP establishment. Paul’s victories in straw polls at the Conservative Political Action Conference and the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference earlier this month may also have been a factor in the renewed push for a Bush candidacy.