An appearance at an upcoming South Carolina fundraiser might be a sign that Jeb Bush plans to run for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Bush, the former governor of Florida, will be the star at a private Oct. 23 fundraiser for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Held at the Capital City Club, the event offers couples who have pledged $10,000 for Haley's re-election bid a chance to participate in a “roundtable discussion” with Bush.
Other donors are invited to a private reception and a photo opportunity with Bush, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by CNN. South Carolina, which hosts one of the early primaries, historically has been a key state for Republican Party nominees.
Political analysts have been waiting to see if Bush will enter the 2016 presidential race. According to friends, the former governor will make his decision after the November midterm elections. He is said to be preparing his positions on issues outside his traditional areas of education and immigration policy, CNBC reports.
"I think the chances are better than 50-50 that he runs, and that is based on some conversations I've had with members of the Bush family," Jim Nicholson, a Bush supporter who served in President George W. Bush's cabinet, told the Wall Street Journal. Members of Bush’s inner circle told CNBC his family is a primary concern. Bush’s wife, Columba, reportedly is not a fan of the political limelight.
Bush may be more concerned right now with his business career than his political future. According to state and federal records, Britton Hill Holdings, a Florida private equity and business advisory group Bush chairs, has raised at least $66.4 million from domestic and foreign investors in the past three years. The profits stem from nearly a dozen kinds of investment entities ranging from privatized emergency response to driverless cars, CBS reported.
If Bush decides to run, he will most likely be pressured to release his personal tax returns and disclose details surrounding his business activity since he left office in 2007. While there is nothing suggesting any wrongdoing with his business dealings, disclosure could bring unwanted attention -- something with which Mitt Romney dealt during the 2012 presidential campaign.
For now, Bush is denying any participation in the upcoming race. Kristy Campbell, Bush’s spokeswoman told CBS, he "is not currently a candidate for office. He's a businessman."
"A lot of people are waiting to see what Dad does,” Jeb Bush Jr., one of Bush’s three sons, told the Wall Street Journal. "There's a lot of pressure to run."