Exclusive: Jeb Bush to hit Chicago Friday as he explores 2016 run – Chicago Sun-Times

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 16, 2014 11:10PM

FILE - DECEMBER 16 2014: It was reported thFormer FloridGov. Jeb Bush announced he plans actively explore campaign for 2016

FILE – DECEMBER 16, 2014: It was reported that Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced he plans to actively explore a campaign for the 2016 presidential bid on December 16, 2014. WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 20: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Bush was the opening speaker at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform conference. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 503816393


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Updated: December 16, 2014 11:57PM

WASHINGTON — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday announced he will “actively explore” a 2016 presidential run, and I have learned that Bush plans to hit Chicago on Friday to meet with major Illinois GOP donors and fundraisers.

The main Bush event in Chicago is a breakfast with a small number of folks who have known him or his family, which includes, as we all know, two former presidents.

Though the political purpose of the Jeb Bush breakfast in Chicago was not explicitly stated to the invitees, with his Tuesday declaration of interest in 2016, there is an agenda.

Bush said in a Tuesday Facebook post that he will establish a political action committee in January to “help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation.”

“The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.”

Bush has many friends in the mainstream Illinois Republican establishment — but so do New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The three share the same high-end donor base in Illinois and are all also considering 2016 primary bids.

“I think [Bush] represents our best opportunity to win back the White House,” Ray LaHood, the former Illinois congressman and transportation secretary, told me.

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