MIAMI (UPI) — Former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush will meet with three of the four remaining Republican contenders on Wednesday and Thursday, perhaps to drum up a plan to deny Donald Trump the party’s nomination.
The news comes as Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have struggled to gain traction in a GOP race once thought to be dominated by the former Florida governor.
Bush will meet with the candidates in Florida, where all three are campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary in that state, an aide said.
None of the three campaigns offered insight regarding what, exactly, the meetings with Bush will discuss, although it’s speculated the Republicans are seeking a strategy to ensure the party’s nomination goes to anyone but Trump, the party’s current front-runner.
Since dropping out of the race after poor showings in the first three contests, Bush has remained largely silent as Trump has maneuvered his way to a commanding lead in delegates necessary to win the nomination.
An outright endorsement from Bush for any candidate is unlikely to happen before Tuesday, when Rubio and Kasich will compete in do-or-die home-state primaries in Florida and Ohio, respectively.
But there’s even more at stake.
Even though he was a flop at the polls, Bush proved the most prodigious fundraiser in the Republican field, hauling in $130 million in donations. He has deep ties to the Republican establishment and access to many high-profile donors who have sat out the race since his departure.
Even a mild endorsement could prove to be a major boost if donors loyal to the Bush family begin to coalesce around one of the three contenders not named Donald Trump.
A handful of members from Bush’s finance team have already jumped ship to Cruz.
Bush was set to meet in South Florida with Rubio and Cruz on Wednesday and Kasich on Thursday, the aide said.
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