But people who have met in recent weeks with Jeb Bush in New York, Washington and Florida say they are far less certain that a campaign will ultimately materialize. Some described Bush as deeply engaged on issues beyond his usual focus on immigration and education, suggesting he was very much preparing for a national race. Others said it seemed like concerns over how a run would impact his family ultimately might keep Bush on the sidelines.
“He told me two things,” a person who spoke with Bush recently in Washington said: “that he knows he has to decide very soon, and that his wife is not at all happy with the possibility.”
This person and several others interviewed for this story declined to be identified by name because Bush has not yet made a decision and they were not authorized to speak publicly on his behalf. Bush himself has said family concerns could keep him out of the race. His wife, Columba, is said to dislike politics and the spotlight — and his daughter, Noelle, has battled substance abuse in the past.
But others in the Bush orbit said the family concerns go well beyond that.
Bush has three grandchildren and a burgeoning business career.