Expected presidential candidate Jeb Bush met privately on Friday in Raleigh with a small group of the state’s wealthiest people, offering a preview of how he would run while courting possible donors to his campaign.
The luncheon at the home of Frank and Julia Daniels in Raleigh followed a separate, more public, gathering for supporters at state Republican Party headquarters in downtown.
Julia Daniels helped lead fundraising in North Carolina for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Her husband, Frank, is former owner and publisher of The News & Observer and is more often associated with support for Democratic political candidates and causes.
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Frank Daniels Jr. said in a brief interview he was there as a spouse.
“It was held in Julia’s half of the house,” he joked, declining to share other details.
Another organizer was Dave Phillips, who also helped lead Romney’s fundraising in the state and was an ambassador to Estonia under George W. Bush.
Phillips told Dome the event was a meet-and-greet for Bush to “get to know some folks.”
The menu reflected a Paleo diet, which Bush has followed to lose about 30 pounds. Guests were served mixed fruit, an arugula salad with salmon, sweet potatoes, pickled onions and candied peanuts, with a key lime dessert.
According to several who were there, Bush spoke about being a “happy warrior” on the campaign trail and highlighted his record as Florida governor, a post he held until 2007.
Among others who were there:
▪ Jim Cain, an ambassador to Denmark under George W. Bush.
▪ Tom Darden, CEO of Cherokee Investment Partners, an investment company based in Raleigh.
▪ Fred Eshelman, founder of a pharmaceutical company and a major donor to UNC Chapel Hill.
▪ John Kane, whose Kane Realty Corp. remade Raleigh’s North Hills.
▪ Theresa Kostrzewa, a Raleigh-based lobbyist who told the Washington Post this year that Bush “will get the majority of the money here, the big money” in North Carolina.
▪ Ward Purrington, a Raleigh lawyer who was chief lobbyist for former Gov. Jim Martin.
▪ Temple Sloan Jr., who started the auto parts company General Parts International.
▪ Sherwood Smith, former CEO of CP&L, now part of Duke Energy.
▪ Garland Tucker III, chairman and CEO of Raleigh investment company Triangle Capital Corp.
▪ Ralph Willard, who was a founding member of Bain and Company and is close with Romney.