Jeb Bush 'explores' 2016 Oval Office run; courting evangelicals

by Staff, |
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) addresses the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington December 1, 2014. | REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MIAMI (Christian Examiner) -- Jeb Bush is exploring a possible run for president of the United States in 2016, the former Florida governor announced Tuesday. The politician and brother of former President George W. Bush said he decided after consulting with his family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jeb Bush announced the news via his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

"I am excited to announce I will actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States," he wrote. "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 statement could encourage Republican-leaning donors to save their funds for Bush, a consideration that other GOP candidates like Chris Christie and Scott Walker might be readying to jump in.

Bush took the unusual step of releasing 250,000 emails from his two terms as governor of Florida to set a tone of openness for his campaign.

"I think part of serving or running, both of them, is transparency – to be totally transparent," Bush told Businessweek. "So I'll let people make up their mind. There's some funny ones, some sad ones, there's some serious ones."

Although Bush has sometimes deviated from the Republican party on key issues like immigration — he calls his campaign strategy "[losing] the primary to win the general" – he has also courted the Christian right. He has met with Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which promotes religious liberty and interprets for the public what Southern Baptists have spoken to about moral and social issues.

Details of the meeting, which took place earlier this year, were not available, but Moore did say that they would "talk about the concerns of evangelicals." Moore said that he would not endorse a candidate in 2016, but would meet with any candidates who are willing.

Bush will also release an e-book incorporating his released emails, which he says will help keep him accountable.

"If you run with big ideas and then you're true to those ideas, and get a chance to serve and implement them and do it with passion and conviction, you can move the needle," he told a Florida reporter. "And that's what we need right now in America."