By Ben White (Politico) –
NEW YORK — Mitt Romney’s exit from the 2016 presidential race sets up a critical challenge for Jeb Bush, top Republicans say: If the former Florida governor can scoop up many of Romney’s big donors, he would set himself up as the dominant front-runner in the establishment wing of the party — and make life much more difficult for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“It sets up the first big test for Jeb on whether he can start closing all these big donors right now and cement his status as the premier candidate in the field and the one who offers the best chance in the general election,” said Kevin Madden, who served as a senior adviser and spokesman for Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “Many donors were held in check waiting on Mitt and now the question is how quickly can [Bush] lock them down while facing competition from Christie and some of the others.”
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