WASHINGTON (AP) – Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has cleared a path toward a 2016 presidential campaign by resigning all of his board memberships.
Earlier in the month, Bush announced plans to actively explore a White House bid. Bush, the son of George HW Bush and brother of George W Bush, is seen as an early favourite of the Republican establishment as the next presidential primary season begins, though it’s unclear how much enthusiasm there would be for a third President Bush.
On Wednesday, the last day of the year, he stepped down from his remaining board memberships, both non-profit and business, an aide said.
Spokeswoman Kristy Campbell called Bush’s review of his business interests “a natural next step as he turns his focus to gauging whether there is support for a potential candidacy”.
Bush launched a series of private business ventures after leaving the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007.
While the presidential race is wide open on the Republican side, Hillary Clinton is the clear front-runner on the Democratic side, though she hasn’t said yet whether she’ll run.
Potential foes in both parties have already begun to pour through Bush’s extensive private dealings in search of fodder for criticism. Bush is seen as relatively moderate and could draw attacks from conservatives on the Republican right-wing.
Bush’s team also confirmed Wednesday that he had declined an invitation to speak at a political event organised by Republican Congressman Steve King, one of Congress’ most strident immigration critics. An aide cited a scheduling conflict, although Bush is one of the few high-profile presidential contenders not attending the Iowa Freedom Summit in late January.