AUSTIN (AP) — If the 2016 presidential race unofficially begins with the end of the midterm elections, a party featuring three possible Republican White House hopefuls together at a hip Austin concert hall could be the kickoff bash.
Top Texas Republicans are holding their election night party on Nov. 4 with a concert by country star Pat Green at the Moody Theater — best known for hosting tapings of Austin City Limits. Gov. Rick Perry isn’t seeking re-election, but he is considering a second run for the White House and is expected to attend.
Also planning to be there, according to spokeswoman Catherine Frazier, is tea party-backed Sen. Ted Cruz, who appears likely to test the presidential waters. Same goes for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who some Republicans hope will enter the race to stand up to conservative firebrands such as Cruz.
Bush will be in Austin to celebrate with son George P. Bush, according to Trey Newton, a spokesman for the younger Bush. George P. should beat little-known Democrat and former El Paso Mayor John Cook to become Texas land commissioner.
Perry, Cruz and Jeb Bush aren’t expected to make major announcements about their futures at the party.
Bush has been more reluctant than the others to admit he’s keeping his options open. His father and brother were both presidents, but Bush has said only that he’ll decide in coming months if he wants to enter the 2016 fray. Neither father nor son are hinting what the decision will be, but George P. Bush said over the weekend that his dad is “moving forward” on a would-be run and it appears more likely he will enter the field.
Jeb Bush probably won’t take the election night stage in Austin, but his son and Cruz plan speeches. Perry spokesman Felix Browne said he couldn’t confirm Perry’s exact plans.
The event is hosted by Texas GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, a favorite to prevail in his race against Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, likely to cruise to re-election, also plans to give a speech.
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