Jeb Bush is thinking about running for president in 2016. Like, really thinking about it.
He's the headliner at an event hosted by mega donor Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas on Thursday. He was actively involved in Rep. David Jolly's special election victory in Florida earlier this month. And he is breaking with his party's orthodoxy on Common Core.
So, as Jeb mulls a bid whose advice does he seek? Who does he trust to give him an unvarnished view of what the race might look like? Well, everyone even close to Jeb insists that he largely keeps his own counsel. (People close to politicians love to insist that no, for real, their guy/gal is not one of those people who is poll-tested and consultant approved at all times.) And they note that there is no formal or organized effort to think about the race or prepare for it. Those caveats aside, there are a handful of people who, in conversations with Jebworld (anything can be made a "world" by the way), quite clearly make up his political inner circle at the moment. If Bush decides to run, this group will almost certainly expand and the people we spoke to were quick to note that the Jeb Bush alumni association is vast and supportive.
Jeb Bush Inner Circle
* Sally Bradshaw: Bradshaw is the person closest to Bush on the staff side. She managed his unsuccessful 1994 gubernatorial campaign and his winning 1998 campaign. Following that victory, Bradshaw spent time as Bush's chief of staff. During the early stages of the 2012 campaign, Bradshaw served as an adviser to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as he weighed making the race. (She's a Mississippi native.)
* Kristy Campbell: Campbell handles the vast avalanche of incoming press calls, event requests and other pulls on the former governor's time. Campbell spent the 2012 general election campaign as deputy communications director for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and, prior to that gig, headed up communications at the American Conservative Union.
* Mike Murphy: Murphy served as the media consultant in Bush's winning 1998 and 2002 campaigns. After working for John McCain's presidential bid in 2000, Murphy has largely stayed away from national politics despite a long relationship with Romney. Murphy is back at the center of the conversation, however, as it relates to Jeb.
* Neil Newhouse: Newhouse was the lead pollster for Romney's presidential bid but also has done work for Jeb's campaigns in the past.