- Spencer Zwick, the top fundraising aide for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, announced today that he was urging 2016 Republican candidates to support immigration reform this year.
- Since Romney announced he wouldn't run for president again last month, there's been much speculation about which candidate Zwick might end up working for. The AP's Steve Peoples wrote that Zwick "may be the most sought after man in Republican politics" because of the fundraising network he built in 2012.
- And on a call today, Zwick praised Jeb Bush and said serious GOP presidential candidates should be in a similar place to Jeb Bush on immigration, according to Time's Zeke Miller. Zwick's statement today was co-written with Mike Fernandez, a supporter of Bush.
An immigration fight this year?
If Zwick does back Bush, it would be yet another sign that the mainstream GOP moneyed establishment is coalescing behind the former Florida governor. The Washington Post's Matea Gold wrote recently that Bush has already assembled a "money juggernaut" and achieved "overwhelming dominance in the race to line up financial backers" over potential GOP rivals Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio.
More interesting, perhaps, is the fact that Zwick's announcement comes hours after a Facebook post in which Jeb urged "President Obama to work with Congress to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system." It shows that, for now at least, Bush isn't dodging the issue that many believe will be his biggest vulnerability among GOP primary voters. (He famously said in December that a Republican candidate should be willing to "lose the primary to win the general.")
Zwick and Bush's twin statements also show that many GOP elites want Congress to tackle immigration reform this year, rather than punting the issue until after 2016. This is a fight that the new Republican-controlled Congress has not seemed eager to take on, since it will certainly be divisive for the party, and particularly unpopular with its base. But GOP electoral strategists are hoping the party can improve its image among Hispanics before the presidential election, and GOP-tied business interests support reform and would like to see it happen. So if an effort does start moving forward, it will certainly be the talk of the GOP presidential race, as other candidates seek to use it against Bush.