Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, when asked by Crowley Political Report whether he planned to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said today he is "not intending to get involved but circumstances can change."
That leaves the door wide open for Bush to lend his name to one of the candidates. But which one?
A Bush endorsement in the race would have a powerful impact on the outcome. While Bush did not indicate which way he would lean, a big clue came today when his closest political confident, Sally Bradshaw, announced that she is backing former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.
Those who have watched Bush and Bradshaw work together believe that Bradshaw would be unlikely to back Hasner without at least a tacit nod from Bush.
Another dynamic at work is that Hasner's wife, Jillian Inmon Hasner, worked on Bush's campaigns and in his administration. She also worked for former President George W. Bush's campaigns. She most recently was campaign manager for Meg Whitman's unsuccessful bid to be California governor.
The Bush family believes in loyalty and Jeb Bush stays close to many of those who helped him with his political career.
Bush over the last few years has made it clear that he was not terribly fond of former Gov. Charlie Crist - even before Crist left the Republican Party. Does that ill-feeling spread to George LeMieux, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Crist?
Odds are that Bush will not make an endorsement until late in the campaign. If Bush endorses Hasner, many Florida Republicans are likely to follow his lead.
Hasner still has a long way to go. Bush will not hand him an endorsement unless Hasner proves he is a viable candidate - which means raising enough money to be competitive, not making any major mistakes, and doing well in the polls.
If Bush endorses Hasner, it will be interesting to see how the LeMieux campaign counteracts it. Of course the biggest surprise would be if Bush endorsed LeMieux.
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