Bush family loyalists in New Hampshire say Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his camp have not contacted any of them or other Republicans about visiting their state or about a potential presidential run, although he has planned a visit to South Carolina next month.
"I can sincerely say that I'm not aware of anyone in New Hampshire having received a call from the Bush people," long-time Bush family supporter and former Republican National Committee member Tom Rath told The New Hampshire Journal
. "People here that I talk to are of a pretty broad range" of Republicans, "and no one has heard anything."
Bush plans to visit South Carolina for a major GOP fundraiser, increasing speculation that he plans to seek the presidency, as the state holds the south's first presidential primary election.
But his spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, and others say Bush, who served two terms in Florida, is focusing on his business obligations
, not a potential run for the White House.
"[He] is not currently a candidate for office," said Campbell. "He's a businessman. If he makes a decision to run for president, he would certainly review his work engagements at that time."
But even though insiders like Campbell say he's not a candidate, Bush is still laying the groundwork for a bid, according to Politico
, including doing private prep work on key international issues and visits to top Senate races across the country to campaign.
He has also made numerous stops over the summer to raise money for the Republican National Committee, visiting among other places, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina, and Kentucky.
Insiders also note that he has shifted his fundraising activity, traveling not only to key states for the midterm elections, but headlining fundraisers in his home state where he has the chance to network with potential new supporters to build his own base of new contacts.
Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, has also not ruled out a 2016 primary run, however, and Rath said he'd be welcomed in New Hampshire.
Rath told The New Hampshire Journal that there is room in the field of contenders for a traditional moderate like the former Florida governor, who would not only appeal to his father's and brother's supporters, but to supporters of former GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
The Bush's have proven popular in New Hampshire. The elder Bush took both the 1988 and 1992 primaries, and while his son lost in 2000 to John McCain, he won in 2004.
And while Jeb Bush may be taking his time making his announcement, CNBC
reports that people close to his family say he does not want New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie be the main moderate on the 2016 ballot, and does not believe Romney will mount another campaign.
In addition, CNBC reports, "Bush believes the nomination of someone like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., would produce an electoral disaster for Republicans akin to the 1964 wipeout of GOP nominee Barry Goldwater."
But even if Bush hasn't planned any visits to New Hampshire, other potential candidates are making the trip north. Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to visit on Oct. 6 and 7 and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal returns to the state on Friday, both to campaign with GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein.
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