Former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will meet in Utah this week. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Two of the GOP establishment’s leading potential presidential contenders, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, will meet privately in Utah Thursday to discuss the 2016 race.

Kristy Campbell, a Bush adviser, said the huddle has been planned for weeks. The meeting was first reported by the New York Times Wednesday night.

“This meeting has been on the books for some time. Governor Bush is very much looking forward to the opportunity to catch up and visit with Governor Romney. He respects him very much,” Campbell said in an e-mail Thursday.”

If Bush and Romney both decide to pursue the 2016 GOP nomination, the two would be in direct competition for establishment support, crowding an already packed field with two well respected center-right heavyweights.

As the fledgling race for the GOP nomination unfolds, political operatives on the right are closely watching presumed-candidate Hillary Clinton, who stands to enter the race as the early frontrunner. A new Washington Post-ABC poll released Thursday suggests Hillary Clinton holds double-digit leads over both Bush and Romney.

This story is developing...