While political prognosticators are focused on whether Jeb Bush will run for president in 2016, the former Florida governor is concentrating on a busy schedule of fundraising and campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates across the nation.
On Tuesday, Bush helped raise an estimated $750,000 for five Republican Senate candidates, including Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Monica Wehby of Oregon, Tom Cotton of Arkansas – all of whom travelled to Florida for the event, reports The Tampa Bay Times.
Dan Sullivan, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Begich, opted to remain in Alaska to campaign.
The fundraiser was coordinated through Floridians for a Senate Majority, a joint fundraising committee, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"I think of [Floridians for a Senate Majority] as a fan club and a team that would be ready to work on behalf of his presidential campaign if he decides to run," Jorge Arrizurieta, a longtime supporter of Bush, told The Wall Street Journal.
"If the event is successful, that will be helpful to him as a potential presidential candidate, but the objective is to make sure Republicans are successful in the current election cycle," he added.
Similar fundraising events were held earlier this month in Chicago and in Coral Gables, Florida, according to the Journal.
Reflective of the busy scheduled he is maintaining in the six weeks before the November 4 elections, Bush was on the campaign trail with North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is locked in a tight race with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.
"The minute anybody has a good idea in the House or in the Senate, it goes into [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid’s desk drawer. No ideas are debated any more in the United States Senate." Bush told a crowd at a Greensboro, North Carolina warehouse, reports Roll Call.
It was Bush's second trip to the state on behalf of Tillis.
Although his trip was intended to boost support for Tillis, the visit also highlighted several issues where Bush differs from the conservative base of the party.
"Standing alongside Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker and Republican Senate candidate, Mr. Bush outlined his views on two of the issues he cares most passionately about: immigration policy and education standards," reports The New York Times.
As speculation about a potential presidential campaign swirls around Bush, he downplayed the talk and insisted that his busy campaign schedule is not new.
“I’ve done this every election cycle, when I was governor and post my governorship. I guess because of the speculation, no one really cared back then, and now it’s a bigger deal," he told The New York Times.
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