Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he will “actively explore” running for president in 2016, becoming the first major candidate from either party to announce a major step toward a presidential run.
Bush said in a Facebook post that he reached the conclusion with his wife, Columba, after spending time with his family over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We also talked about the future of our nation,” the former GOP governor said. “As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.”
Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, also announced that that he will form a political action committee in January to “to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”
Bush will not be able to raise a substantial amount of money for any presidential run through his leadership PAC, but he will be able to support other candidates and boost his public image as a contender.
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee dismissed Bush's announcement, saying he had "fully embraced the failed economic agenda that benefits only a select few at the expense of the middle class."
"That’s not going to change no matter how many different ways he says he may run," DNC communications director Mo Elleithee said.
Bush, who was Florida’s chief executive from 1999-2007, said he would be “in touch soon” with a final decision on running for president.
Here’s Bush’s full Facebook post:
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.
Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.
We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.
We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.
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 PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.
Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.