George Prescott Bush is gearing up to run for a little-known but powerful office in Texas, a state where his family already is a political dynasty and where his Hispanic roots could help extend a stranglehold on power that Republicans have enjoyed for two decades.
The 36-year-old Fort Worth lawyer says he is close to settling on campaigning for Texas land commissioner next year. He doesn’t expect to make up his mind until he knows whether Texas Governor Rick Perry, a fellow Republican, will run for reelection.
‘‘We for sure are running; the question is the office,’’ Bush said during the first interview about his political future since filing paperwork in November to seek elected office in Texas.
Bush’s father is former Florida governor Jeb Bush, his grandfather is former President George H.W. Bush, and his uncle is former president and Texas governor George W. Bush. Perry has been governor since George W. Bush left for the White House.
Land commissioner has been a steppingstone to higher office, but Bush said little about any plans to eventually become a national political force.
Instead, he spoke of how his past experience as an asset manager would help him manage the Permanent Schools Fund, which pays for public education and is managed by the land commissioner. He also said his perspective as an Afghanistan war veteran will help him use the post to become a leader in veterans’ affairs.
Bush said he would announce his final decision after the Texas Legislature adjourns in May but added that his choice will depend upon ‘‘where the governor’s thinking is.’’ Perry, who flamed out as a presidential candidate but remains popular in Texas, says he will reveal this summer if he will seek another term.
Some have speculated that Bush could challenge Perry for governor. Even if he doesn’t, what Perry decides will trigger political repercussions.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson plans to run for lieutenant governor next year, creating a vacancy in his office. But Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, may run for governor in 2014, meaning his post could be open too.
Bush suggested he would be willing to wait his turn politically rather than immediately seeking top positions coveted by others in the state GOP.
‘‘We’ve said that we want to be team players in the party, providing a younger, fresher vision for our values,’’ he said in the interview Friday.
With the war in Afghanistan winding down after 11 years, President Obama said Saturday that the time is right for US forces to let Afghans do their own fighting.
In his weekly radio and Internet address , Obama said US forces will shift to a support role as Afghan soldiers take the lead in defending their country.
Obama met Friday with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, at the White House and agreed that US troops will go home in larger numbers starting this spring — several months ahead of schedule. Obama said “America’s war in Afghanistan will be over’’ by the end of 2014.
In the Republican address, freshman Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska said that with the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ averted, Congress and the president must focus on cutting ‘‘out-of-control’’ government spending.