By Elizabeth Martinez
As 2015 begins, the presidential race in 2016 has begun.
For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is the top pick, though she hasn’t officially announced her run. Pro-Clinton Super PACs, a political action committee which pools campaign contributions from donors and gives those funds to a campaign, are already collecting funds for Hillary. Ready for Hillary, her biggest super PAC, has collected $10 million so far, among a dozen more PACs getting ready for the former Secretary of State’s announcement.
The Republican side, however, is much more complex. Prior to November, the top Republican pick was Mitt Romney, who had a 9 point lead over Bush who stood at 10% of Republicans polled. Romney and his wife have stated they weren’t ready for another run, being that 2016 would be the third time Romney would place a presidential bid. However, more recently, his mind has shifted.
Hopes for a Romney run shifted to looks toward former Florida governor Jeb Bush. On Thanksgiving, he stated over Facebook, “I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States” More recently, Jeb has begun to talk to donors. Although his moves aren’t the equivalent of an official bid, he is positioning himself for a run.
He even took a jab at the Democratic pick at a closed-press fundraising event in Connecticut, referring to Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, who served as president in the 90s.
“He said, ‘If someone wants to run a campaign about ’90s nostalgia, it’s not going to be very successful,’” reported Hearst Connecticut Media reported, citing another person present at the event.
At the same event, he addressed the comparisons made between him and his family, specifically his father and brother, former presidents George H. W. Bush and George Bush
‘“Do you have a father? Do you have a brother? Are you the same person?” said Jeb Bush according to the unnamed source.
He served two terms in Florida’s governor’s mansion from 1999 to 2007 and has a record of conservative policies. As governor, he was known for tax cuts, and education reform. He created a private school voucher program, and focused education on establishing tough standards, including the infamous FCAT. He sternly supported charter schools and school vouchers, with a firm refusal in raising taxes to pay for education.
Bush faces the most criticism from the tea party side of the Republican party for his support of Common Core and an immigration overhaul. He is largely considered a moderate Republican, giving him a strong advantage for moderates over Tea Party favorites Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who are also considering a run, but a disadvantage because his conservative allegiance has been questioned.
Nonetheless, Bush has made strong moves that mean the equivalent of an official bid, such as his goal to raise $100 million these first three months of 2015. Important donors began donating to his PAC Right to Rise, but some have stopped after Mitt Romney’s recent statement that he is exploring a run for President once again.
Although his wife, Anne, has stated time and time again that they were not considering a run again, within the past week “The Washington Post” reported that he was reassembling his campaign apparatus. He even told one Republican he, “Almost certainly will run.”
If Romney were to run, he would have a lead over Bush and all other candidates. He has the conservative vote, pre-existing support, and high name recognition. With a wide network of contacts and donors, Romney has already brought Bush’s high set goals to a halt as major donors have backed out on supporting Bush until Mitt makes his decision.
Despite the back and forth, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, nor Mitt Romney have officially announced a run, but the race has still begun.