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Continued: 2016 presidential hopefuls jockey for position as midterm elections loom

  • Article by: STEVE PEOPLES , Associated Press
  • Last update: September 1, 2014 - 9:15 AM

JEB BUSH

More than seven years out of office, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been quieter than some of his GOP colleagues as he focuses on his private business dealings.

He recently said he'd begin a more aggressive schedule to help Republicans this fall. He's set to headline a Florida fundraiser in late September to benefit top Republican Senate candidates, a group expected to include Cory Gardner in Colorado, Ernst in Iowa, Monica Wehby in Oregon and Tom Cotton in Arkansas.

RAND PAUL

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been perhaps the most aggressive prospective candidate.

The ophthalmologist recently squeezed in a mission to perform eye surgeries in Guatemala_and invited news organizations to cover it_between stops in Iowa and South Carolina. He's confirmed September appearances in California and Virginia, and October visits to North Carolina and New Hampshire, among dozens more possible stops.

The libertarian-leaning Paul, the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is trying to build on the small but passionate coalition assembled by his father. The elder Paul wasn't taken seriously by many Republicans, but Rand Paul has emerged as a leading GOP voice on foreign and domestic policy.

CHRIS CHRISTIE

Working to move past a bridge-clogging scandal that shadowed his plans, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues an aggressive travel schedule this fall as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Having already visited New Hampshire, he's announced a trip to South Carolina, where he'll have a chance to test his message with more conservative voters. He's also planning trips to Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.

Christie leads a delegation of New Jersey business and political leaders to Mexico in early September, a trip that gives him a chance to bolster his appeal with Latino voters and burnish his foreign policy chops. And at home, Christie will unveil a budget plan that is sure to draw fury from Democrats and union leaders.

RICK PERRY

Eyeing a second presidential bid, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was already facing challenges related to his disastrous 2012 campaign before his recent felony indictments.

His advisers suggest the charges could actually help his political prospects, and he has pressed ahead with visits to Iowa, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, and more.

Perry heads to Iowa in early September shortly before a weeklong economic tour across Asia. He'll turn his attention to helping Republican governors win reelection when he returns.

The Texas governor will launch a European tour in October.

OTHER REPUBLICANS:

The possible GOP field also includes Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hopes to use his reelection test this fall as a springboard into 2016. Others must convince skeptical party leaders they have mainstream appeal — a group that includes conservative firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and social conservative Rick Santorum.

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