Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, considered a potential top-tier candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will headline a fund-raiser next month for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.
Bush, who has said he is considering a campaign, is the “special guest” for a July 2 event for Baker at the Ridge Club in Sandwich, according to a copy of the invitation viewed by the Globe. Barnstable District Attorney Michael O’Keefe and Sheriff James Cummings are co-hosting the event.
Massachusetts GOP strategists say Baker, like other state Republicans, has a narrow class of national members of their party upon which he can draw for fund-raisers. The former governor of Florida is one; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is another. Senator John McCain of Arizona and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani have also lent GOP candidates campaign support here.
Other, more conservative GOPers could do more harm than good to Republicans in the liberal Bay State, by aligning them in the public eye with the party’s right wing.
Asked about Bush’s visit, Baker spokesman Tim Buckley replied in an email, “Charlie is campaigning for the votes of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, and welcomes the support of a successful and reform-minded [g]overnor.”
Bush governed Florida from 1999 until 2007. Considered a favorite of the party establishment, he is considered one of the potential candidates best-positioned to reach out to Hispanic voters, a major concern for the party entering the next presidential election cycle.
Bush did not respond to a message left with his office.
Tea Party candidate Mark Fisher is also seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the Sept. 9 primary.Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Jim.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.