Jeb Bush Closer to Announcing His Candidacy; Florida GOP Likes Him More Than Rubio

While everyone was getting ready to ring in the new year on Wednesday, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was busy making more moves signaling that he's closer to making the inevitable announcement that he's going to run for president.

On Wednesday, Jeb cut ties with businesses he's been involved in while a private citizen, and stepping down from corporate and nonprofit board memberships, according to the Washington Post.

The move is indicative of a man ready to pronounce himself a candidate for the White House.

See also: Jeb Bush Announces He's Exploring a Run For the Presidency

This is the second time Jeb makes overtures towards running during the holidays. Over the Thanksgiving holidays in November, Bush announced he was putting together an exploratory committee to look into the possibilities of running.

Now, on New Years Eve, his office confirms he's making more moves.

According to Bush spokesperson Kristy Campbell, Jeb's latest move is "a natural next step as he turns his focus to gauging whether there is support for a potential candidacy."

While Jeb looks like the frontrunner for the GOP ticket for now, there have been whispers that Republicans don't much care for him.

The grumblings have been coming from the more conservative wing of the party. But that part of the party has had the biggest sway over the GOP in recent years.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh proposed that Bush is running simply to keep more right-leaning candidates like Ted Cruz off the ticket.

"Do you want to know why Jeb Bush is thinking of running?" Limbaugh asked on his show in December. "I'll give you a poss -- including the fact that he may actually want to be president, he may actually want to do this -- but he's also being looked at as a savior by the big money donor class and the consultant class, the establishment of the party, to head-off the Tea Party. They're going to pull out all the stops to make sure that a Tea Party-type conservative doesn't get the nomination. And if that means -- somebody like Jeb -- it could be a sacrificial run just to make sure that a conservative doesn't get the nomination in 2016. There's a whole bunch of stuff under the surface here that's percolating and effervescing. And it's all about us being the number one enemy of these people."

Moreover, influential conservative website the National Review called Bush "the wrong man, at the wrong time."

Still, a recent poll by Saint Leo University says that Floridian Republicans favor Jeb over any other possible candidate for 2016.

Of the Florida Republicans polled, 34 percent favor Bush over any other candidate, including fellow-Floridian Marco Rubio, who received 10 percent of the vote in the poll.

Saint Leo political scientist instructor, Frank Orlando, called Bush Florida's favorite son.

"The conventional wisdom is that there's only room for one Florida Republican in the presidential field, Bush or Rubio; and the clear, cut winner is Jeb Bush," Orlando said. "Our poll results confirm beyond a doubt his dominance over Rubio and the other Republican contenders. Jeb is wildly popular among Floridians. I was surprised at his massive advantage."

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph