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The two leading establishment candidates to be the GOP standard bearer in the 2016 presidential race, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush will meet this week on Romney’s turf in Utah. As establishment candidates they will be compete for the same support and more importantly the same cash.

According to the NY Times:

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House. Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

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The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.  Aides to Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush did not reply to requests for comment.

Both men have been making a flurry of phone calls to Republican donors and officials to sound them out and gather commitments ahead of what could be a bruising primary race.

In some cases, Mr. Bush and Mr. Romney are calling the same people just hours apart. Many of the contributors and elected officials they are courting hope to stave off a collision between the two that could imperil the party’s chances in a general election.

Whether the meeting will be a symbolic gesture or a chance for the establishment Republicans to try and avoid a bitter clash on the campaign trail won’t be know until the campaign develops but it is an interesting development.
Interestingly, a Rasmussen poll released Thursday show that in a head to head battle for GOP voters (yes I know it’s way early) Romney would have a 49%-32% victory over Bush (19% undecided). Interestingly Romney has a big lead in every Demographic breakdown of likely GOP voters except one. Bush has the larger share of liberal Republicans by a 55%-35% margin but that group is a small share of the GOP.

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