He also endorsed Marco Rubio, the conservative who ran more moderate Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican Party in this year's Senate race. Crist is now running as an independent, a move for which Bush excoriated Crist, surprising some Florida political watchers.
"His higher profile shouldn't be surprising considering Jeb's passion for public service and policy," said Adam Smith, who is political editor at the St. Petersburg Times. "What was surprising I think was how vocally Bush criticized Gov. Crist before Crist switched parties. Crist certainly had snubbed Jeb and his allies, but it's unprecedented in Florida to have a former governor so aggressively go after a sitting governor the way Jeb Bush did."
While his support of Rubio will endear Bush to mainstream Republicans and his CV includes limited government bona fides – cutting taxes and earmarks and culling the state workforce – Jeb Bush has moderate views on things like immigration. He opposes the controversial immigration law in Arizona, which would require local police and sheriffs to pursue and detain people they suspect are illegal immigrants.
"I don't think this is the proper approach," Bush told Politico in April. He is among the few remaining Republicans who continue to support a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Bush is married to a Latina and has three biracial children. His son, George P., has been active in trying to attract Hispanic voters to the Republican Party, an aim that could be complicated by the Arizona law and the current hard-line stance among most Republicans toward immigration.
There is some indication that Jeb Bush is making inroads among the energized Tea Party base of the Republican Party; he will headline a private fundraiser for Rand Paul, the Tea Party-favored Republican running for Senate in Kentucky.
For all the endorsements and fundraisers, however, Bush seems content in private life, according to the St. Petersburg journalist Smith.
"He's said to be enjoying private life working alongside his son, but no matter what he says it seems foolish to rule out him running for some public office at some point again - whether it's the presidency or something out of the box like mayor of Miami," he said.
NOTE: Bush declined an interview request for this story, but a spokeswoman provided facts about his list of endorsements and his biography.
UPDATE: After his appearance at a fundraiser for Rand Paul and before a speech in Kentucky to the National Conference of State Legislatures, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tells a local TV crew pretty clearly "I am not running for President."