While the vast number of influential figures in the Republican Party have not yet said who they support, a slew of political operatives and donors in Florida, including former state party chair Van Poole and ex-RNC finance chairman Al Hoffman, all told the Tampa Times over the last week they would choose Bush over Rubio if the two ran against each other. Several of them suggested Rubio should not run, since he would be fighting important political influencers in his own home state.
Meanwhile, Mel Sembler, who was the Republican National Committee’s finance chair from 1997 to 2000 and then served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to Italy, told the Newark Star-Ledger that he was an “admirer” of Christie but will opt for Bush…
“I’ve been associated with the family since 1979,” Sembler said, referring to the Bushes. “I have a history with them and I will continue that history.”
Brian Ballard, a Florida lobbyist who was on Mitt Romney’s finance committee in 2012, told NBC News, “I think Jeb’s time is now. Marco’s time may be now, but it may be later.”