Politics & Government

Jeb Bush forms PAC to explore run for president in 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stumps for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in Wichita. (Sept. 29, 2014)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stumps for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in Wichita. (Sept. 29, 2014) File photo

Jeb Bush would like to follow in his father and older brother’s footsteps and try his hand at running the free world – or at least he says he’s open to exploring the possibility.

Bush, the former Florida governor, announced Tuesday on Facebook that he was forming political action committee to begin exploring a run at the presidency in 2016. Bush said he came to the decision after discussions with his wife, children and grandchildren during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football,” Bush said on Facebook. “We also talked about the future of our nation.

“As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.”

Bush said he would establish a Leadership PAC in January to help “facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation.”

His father, George H.W. Bush, was the 41st president, and his brother, George W. Bush, the 43rd. If Bush wins, he would be No. 45.

Bush was one of several rumored Republican presidential candidates to visit Kansas during the recent election. He joined U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Dodge City, at Murfin Stables in Wichita in late September. Attendees at the event paid between $100 and $2,600.

Other possible presidential candidates who joined Roberts or Gov. Sam Brownback on the campaign trail during their tough re-election fights included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Mitt Romney, who was the party’s nominee in 2012 and has been rumored to be considering another bid.

Neither Brownback nor Roberts have explicitly expressed support for presidential bids by any of the GOP luminaries who came to stump for them during the election.

Brownback at one time was also rumored to be considering a 2016 bid, but during the governor’s race he officially terminated his presidential campaign committee, which had been open since his short run for the nomination in 2008.

Bush served as governor of Florida, a key swing state in presidential elections, from 1999 through 2007, a period which included the controversial presidential recount between his brother and former Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

Bush was one of the key advocates for the creation and spread of the Common Core standards, a set of national education standards which Kansas and other states voluntarily adopted. The standards have become a controversial policy among some conservatives because of President Obama’s support.

Bush has stood by the policy as necessary for improving the country’s education system, commenting during a 2013 speech at the National Summit of Education Reform that “criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers. Solutions are hard work.”

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle