Jeb Bush announced Tuesday morning that he will "actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States."
The former governor of Florida and son of former President George H.W. Bush made the announcement on social media, posting messages to Twitter and Facebook that he had made the decision after consulting with his family over Thanksgiving.
"As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States," Bush wrote in a Facebook post published Tuesday.
He continued, "In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America."
Reaction among progressives on Twitter was dismissive if not swift:
Having a Bush v. Clinton race would be appropriate as the country hurtles towards full oligarchy.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) December 16, 2014
So Jeb Bush is going to run for President in 2016. What could possibly go wrong?
— Rob Hopkins (@robintransition) December 16, 2014
Jeb Bush candidacy is "a fantasy nourished by the people who used to run the Republican Party." http://t.co/Ad8Wqc3mMW
— Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) December 16, 2014
Here's my explanation of why a Jeb Bush prez candidacy is good news: http://t.co/pJ4IpgSRGI
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 16, 2014
I am ACTIVELY EXPLORING whether I should write about Jeb Bush.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) December 16, 2014
American aristocracy: Bush v Clinton 2016. mJeb Bush: "I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president
— Ewen MacAskill (@ewenmacaskill) December 16, 2014
Jeb Bush is running for President Will he finally talk about his four mysterious companies? http://t.co/W0JxgyZOGS
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) December 16, 2014
In a mid-October ABC poll, Bush had roughly 13 percent of support among conservatives, putting him in the same league as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who each received 12 percent support. He is a divisive figure in politics, even among Republicans, as David Weigel of Bloomberg points out. His legacy as Florida Governor is also punctuated by scandal and allegations of corruption.
Tuesday's statement is not an official announcement of Bush's candidacy, but a strong hint that he is planning on running. The New York Times writes:
The question that looms over yet another Bush candidacy, though, is if he can appeal to actual Republican primary voters as much as he does the party’s wealthy bundlers. Many of Mr. Bush’s would-be rivals are skeptical. So for them, Mr. Bush’s making such an early move is not entirely bad news. If it turns out that he cannot appeal to the party base or backs away from a run entirely, there will be time for them to make their move.