Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jeb Bush's Donor Blitz Aims to Squeeze Out Rivals

Jeb Bush is crisscrossing the country on a 60-event fundraising blitz aimed at raising enough money to give other Republicans second thoughts about entering the race.
The fundraising effort, which Mr. Bush’s team has dubbed a “shock and awe’’ campaign, could be particularly meaningful for Mitt Romney, who is competing with Mr. Bush for support from the same small circle of longtime Republican donors.
Many of Mr. Bush’s early events have included members of Mr. Romney’s finance team from 2012, a sign of overlap between the two biggest donor networks in the GOP and of the potential for a Romney-Bush showdown to splinter the party’s top patrons.
The competition comes as Messrs. Bush and Romney, considered heavyweights among the business-friendly, “establishment’’ wing of the party, were to meet late Thursday in Utah. The meeting was scheduled weeks before Mr. Romney earlier this month expressed interest in a third White House bid. But speculation about the purpose and tone of the meeting abounded, given the similar fundraising power and policy profile the two men would bring to the Republican primary field.
Mr. Bush told a reporter with KUTV television in the Salt Lake City airport on Thursday that the two would talk about “the future,’’ and that there would be no awkwardness in seeing his potential rival. “I admire him a lot,’’ he said of Mr. Romney.
Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who is close to Mr. Romney, said he didn’t think Mr. Bush’s aggressive fundraising would affect Mr. Romney’s decision about whether to run. “He’s clearly demonstrated an ability to raise money.”
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