Jeb Bush picks Greenwich as springboard for potential White House bid


Jeb Bush’s flirtation with running for president in 2016 will take the former Florida governor to the familiar and lush stomping grounds of the Bush political clan: Greenwich.

The Republican will raise money for his newly-created leadership PAC at a reception Wednesday in the hometown of his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Proof that not all of Greenwich winters in Florida, a popular tax-Haven for Connecticut residents, Bush will be hosted by an assemblage of relatives and political allies with ties to his father and brother.

The private reception is being organized by Craig and Debbie Walker Stapleton — he was U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and then France under former President George W. Bush and she is a Bush cousin.

The host committee also includes Richard Breeden, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during the first Bush presidency, and David McCormick, a former Treasury under secretary during the second Bush presidency who is president of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

“It will be an opportunity to discuss the Governor’s background, his future plans and most importantly, ask questions,” read an email invitation to the event.

The location of the fundraiser was not disclosed in the invitation, which says Bush’s exploratory PAC is accepting individual political contributions of up to $5,000.

Greenwich was the home of the late Bush family patriarch Prescott Bush Sr., who served in the U.S. Senate and was the grandfather of Jeb Bush.

In April 2014, Connecticut Republicans welcomed Jeb Bush as the keynote speaker at the Prescott Bush Awards fundraising dinner in Stamford.

During his remarks, Bush made no bones about his sympathetic views toward undocumented immigrants, a position that has put him at odds with hardline conservatives who oppose amnesty and is expected to come up during the GOP nomination fight for president.

“The simple fact is, there is no conflict between enforcing our laws, believing in the rule of law and having some sensitivity to the immigrant experience, which is part of who we are as a country,” Bush told nearly 800 Republicans at the time.

Bush was a prep school classmate of twice-thwarted gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley at Phillips Academy Andover and introduced the fellow Republican at a CEO networking event in September in Greenwich.

Bush leads of pack of prospective GOP White House hopefuls that includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in a recent CNN poll but trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by 13 points in a hypothetical general election matchup.

While Bush is perceived to have an advantage in name recognition, the conventional wisdom is that so-called “Bush fatigue” could work against him in a potential run for president.

Neil Vigdor