Real Clear Politics has the exclusive:
Two top New Hampshire Republican strategists have been contacted this week by a Jeb Bush confidant to discuss their interest in leading the former Florida governor’s prospective presidential campaign there, RealClearPolitics has learned from GOP sources in the Granite State.
The new outreach from Bush’s camp was directed at a pair of experienced and well-respected New Hampshire GOP operatives, each of whom has previously helmed presidential campaigns in the state.
Both were given the proverbial instruction to “keep your powder dry,” suggesting that Bush is leaning toward entering the race early next year.
“I think the decision’s been made, personally,” said one of the strategists who was contacted by Bush’s camp and who spoke to RCP under the condition of anonymity.
I suspect Bush’s path to the nomination would be not unlike Mitt Romney’s in 2012. Of course, Romney had the added benefit of “winning” the Iowa caucuses (turns out he actually didn’t, of course) which in turn gave him a great deal of momentum heading into New Hampshire. Nevertheless, with scores of tea partiers presumably slugging it out in the Hawkeye State, there’s little room for a squishy moderate like Bush to successfully swoop in and steal victory. In other words, he’ll need to win New Hampshire outright to have any sort of chance of continuing his candidacy past the early primary states.
Obviously, the GOP establishment is looking for a credible, compelling candidate to fill (ahem) Mitt Romney’s presumed absence. Is Jeb the guy? Wall Street is reportedly itching for him to run, as is (almost) the entire Bush dynasty. His supporters, it seems, are numerous and growing, and thus the only question left is will he give into their pleas?
Judging by what you've just read, my friends, perhaps he already has.