Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is reportedly knee-deep in mulling whether to run for the White House in 2016, weighing family concerns against a centrist Republican agenda he believes could steer the country back on a path of economic prosperity, Politico
Bush, 61, has toyed with running since 2008 but has never entered the race. He is a "popular surrogate" on campaign trails around the country, according to CNBC
, something he has done in past election cycles and will continue to do this year. His fall travel schedule has him making appearances in places like North Carolina and Kansas, where the Senate races are tight.
Bush has also opened his Tampa, Florida home to fundraisers for GOP Senate candidates Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado; Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Oregon's Monica Wehby, according to CNBC.
A moderate conservative with strong views on immigration and education – he is a firm believer in a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and the national Common Core K-12 education standards – Bush and his supporters believe he would be the antidote to a Hillary Clinton candidacy, something Bush would make the case for during the primaries.
A Bush friend told Politico that if Bush runs "he would set out a clear agenda and hope to bring the party along with him."
"He might be center-right now instead of far-right, but he is prepared to set out his agenda and take the hits," the friend said. "He will say, 'Here are the key things we need to do as a nation on education, tax policy, immigration, foreign policy and national defense' and then let people decide if they agree."
He's also been spending a great deal of time studying foreign policy and economics, according to CNBC, resulting in a strong sense from those close to Bush that he will enter the race. He has said he will make a decision after the November midterms.
Insiders cite family concerns as the number one thing that could hold Bush back. His wife, Columba, has never been a fan of politics and his daughter has struggled with substance abuse.
But his father, President George H.W. Bush, is hoping to see a second son become commander-in-chief, according to Politico.
"If it were up to the 41st president, Jeb would be a candidate," Jim McGrath, spokesman for George H.W. Bush told Politico. "He is an unabashed promoter of a Jeb Bush candidacy. He thinks he would be a fantastic president. But he also respects Jeb's decision making in what is a very personal matter."
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