Jeb Bush to 'actively explore' run for president

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — It's an announcement that is certain to reverberate throughout Republican politics.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he's going to "actively explore" a campaign for president. And that could pre-empt some other Republicans with White House aspirations, in the bidding for big donations and public support.

The field includes more than a dozen potential candidates, none of whom have formally announced plans to run.

Among them is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who came to prominence as a strong Bush supporter. A spokesman says he has "a lot of respect" for Bush, but that his decision on whether to seek the presidency won't be based on "who else might be running."

Still, a lobbyist in Tallahassee who was a top Florida fundraiser for the past two GOP nominees says he expects that most major donors in the state will commit to Bush. Brian Ballard says, "Florida will be off-limits to other presidential candidates" if Bush decides to run.

A spokeswoman for Bush says he'll announce his decision next year after measuring support for a run.

%@AP Links

131-v-32-(Tony Winton, AP correspondent)--Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says he's exploring a presidential bid. AP correspondent Tony Winton has more. AP correspondent Tony Winton reports. (16 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *131 (12/16/14)££ 00:32

132-c-12-(Tony Winton, AP correspondent)-"two past presidents"-AP correspondent Tony Winton reports that Florida's former governor is thinking of trying to be the third man named "Bush" in the Oval Office. (16 Dec 2014)

<<CUT *132 (12/16/14)££ 00:12 "two past presidents"

APPHOTO MHX101: FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2014, file photo, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gives the keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington. On Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, Bush took his most definitive step yet toward running for president, announcing plans to "actively explore" a campaign and form a new political operation allowing him to raise money for like-minded Republicans. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (16 Dec 2014)

<<APPHOTO MHX101 (12/16/14)££

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