Date :Sunday, February 1st, 2015 | Time : 05:59 |ID: 10146 | Print

Mitt Romney will not run ? Jeb Bush – the GOP front-runner of 2016.

SHAFAQNA – Mitt Romney choosing to abstain from running for the White House raises the question if the 2016 Grand Old Party presidential turf has a leader presenting a desirable position on ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush which also brings more challenges and threats.

Republicans has a ritual of picking an established candidate ahead of time which mostly leads to him ending up with the nomination but not without facing challenges.

Although this time it is an oddly unsettling situation for them.

Losing Romney as a rival is “a mixed bag for Bush,” said veteran GOP strategist Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican party. “He also becomes the target of everyone who is anti-establishment. Before, you had Romney and Bush kind of splitting up that ire.”

Bush was on the roll of pulling together a mass of fundraisers and brilliant associates including acquiring David Kochel, Romney’s best Iowa strategist, to be his campaign manager. This process strengthened after the 2012 GOP presidential nominee Romney backed out on Friday.

“It’s a great day for Jeb Bush,” said Brian Ballard, a lobbyist who led Romney’s 2012 fundraising effort in Florida and switched to Bush this time around. “I think Jeb had 75 percent of the money folks here. This brings in the other 25 percent.”

Bill Kunkler, a private-equity executive from Chicago and his wife Susan Crown had been the top fundraiser for Romney the last time he ran and hoped to be by his side in 2016.

Now, Bush is “the only one my wife and I will work for,” Kunkler said. “If it’s not Jeb, we’re done for this cycle. I know in my heart that Jeb is the only one who passes the presidential test. . . . We’ll be all in for him.”

Virginia fundraisers Bobbie and Bill Kilberg raised more than $4 million for Romney, stated they are devoted to assist him all over again if he ran. Now, Bobbie plans to support New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and fetch as many other donors as possible.

Still, “we shouldn’t assume that the only people competing for the center-right pie will be Jeb and Chris. I don’t think any of the prospective candidates will be shy about going after these donors. It’s a race between everyone,” said Kilberg, who cited former Texas governor Rick Perry, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as also making tough petitions.

However, assembling resources is not the only problem for Bush which may have been deepened with Romney’s judgment for not running.

Bush’s biggest challenge is to differentiate himself in front a body of voters who impression about him is highly dependent on the last name he shares with two other former presidents of the USA. This is not a good sign when Republicans are willing to look deeper into the situation and are intrigued by fresh faces.

Walker, who made a great impression on Iowa last weekend at a conservative gathering and Christie can brag of a landslide 2013 re-election on a profoundly Democratic state. Bush’s fellow Floridian the enigmatic Sen. Marco Rubio is another prospective candidate.

Bush is confident about running as a fearless Republican without backing away from stances and differentiating himself with a positive message that reverberates with massive number of spectators.

Bush is expected in Michigan on Wednesday to try out his pitch in front of the Detroit Economic Club.

Bush’s array of advisers claims that his appearance on a democratically biased state with economically distressed situation is architected to send the message that he believes he is the most eligible Republican to compete in the election.

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