Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met with some of the region's top Republican donors in Philadelphia on Tuesday as he continued a national fund-raising blitz ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign.
Bush had a luncheon fund-raiser for his political action committee with backers at the Union League in Center City, and two smaller meetings later in the day with potential supporters.
"I'm certainly listening and learning about all the candidates at this stage of the game, but at the same time, I've been a fan of Jeb Bush for a long time," said William R. Sasso, chairman of the law firm Stradley Ronon, who has worked with the former governor on the board of the National Constitution Center. He was one of 15 who met with Bush on Tuesday.
Bush, the son and brother of presidents, has emerged as a favorite of many leaders of the establishment wing of the GOP, who say they are looking for a pragmatic conservative to help the party take back the White House after eight years of the Obama administration. For the last three months, Bush has been scooping up cash and commitments at a robust schedule of events for his PAC, Right to Rise.
Among those who attended one or more of the Philadelphia events, according to state GOP sources, were Carl Buchholz, managing partner of DLA Piper law firm; businessman Manny Stamatakis; Robert Asher, member of the Republican National Committee from Pennsylvania; and Charles G. Kopp, senior counsel at the Cozen O'Connor law firm.
Renee Amoore, a Montco businesswoman, and Tracey Specter, a Lower Merion GOP committeewoman, also attended.
Bush has been careful to separate himself from the two former presidents in the family - "I'm my own man," he says - but he's going to get some help from that direction in the coming days.
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush are scheduled to attend a fund-raiser Wednesday in Dallas with backers who pledge to raise $100,000 or more for the PAC.
Developer Woody Hunt, billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans, and former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison are among the guests, according to Texas news reports.
On Thursday, former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush are scheduled to attend a Houston fund-raiser for Jeb Bush in Houston.