Inside Jeb Bush’s long game: A bet on peaking late

The approach is similar to the tack Mitt Romney took in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor prevailed at the end of a protracted primary contest in which a half-dozen candidates briefly tasted front-runner status, only to fall. Romney precipitated many of those falls, using his financial edge to relentlessly attack one opponent after another.

But Bush faces a rougher road to the nomination than Romney did. The Republican field is one of the strongest in years and features several candidates who excite various factions within the party. Many of them will also be supported by their own well-funded super PACs, poised to interject unprecedented money into the race…

Bush had hoped to overcome some of these challenges with his early and aggressive entry as a potential candidate, but he has not been able to have the “shock and awe” impact that some supporters had predicted…

Unlike his brother, who won the 2000 caucuses after months of charming GOP voters, Bush has so far been less attentive to the state. He plans to attend the Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner on May 16, but his allies privately acknowledge that he may neglect this August’s Iowa straw poll, a test of organization disliked by national GOP leaders for the attention it showers on lower-tier candidates. Last month, he skipped an Iowa faith group’s summit.