WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will make allies in the key early presidential voting state of Iowa without even going there.
Bush will host a re-election fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in Coral Gables, Florida on May 22, Branstad’s campaign confirmed to CNN.
“With Gov. Bush’s popularity and unmatched record as governor of Florida, we believe this will be a very successful fundraiser, and Gov. Branstad is excited to attend. Branstad admires the work Bush has done to manage Florida’s finances while focusing on growing the state’s economy,” Branstad’s campaign communications director Tommy Schultz told CNN.
Other prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, also have promised to help Branstad’s campaign.
Any political activity related to the first-in-the-nation caucus state will draw a lot of attention to Bush and the guessing game of will he or won’t he.
For his part, Bush has repeatedly said he will make a decision by the end of the year on whether he will run for President.
One source close to Bush told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger it is 50-50 on whether he will seek the Republican nomination as he is “still in a reflective mode,” not an active mode.
An April poll from from Loras College in Iowa showed Bush in second place among Republican voters with 11% if the state’s caucuses were held today. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the pack in the Hawkeye State with 15% of GOP voters saying they would vote for him.
Bush has recently stepped up his political activity on behalf of candidates — although he mostly has avoided traveling to the early presidential voting states. CNN has learned he hosted a re-election campaign fundraiser for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in Jacksonville, Florida last Friday.
He is scheduled to attend a fundraiser lunch in Florida for the influential Republican Jewish Coalition later this month. He attended a closed-door dinner in March for the same group in Las Vegas with some of the nation’s most prominent GOP donors attending. Sources said his remarks there were very well-received. Nevada is also key as it is expected to be one of the early voting states in the Republican primary calendar.
The Des Moines Register first reported the news of Bush’s fundraiser for Branstad.