Jeb Bush hands out cash to win allies ahead of 2016 election

Republican Jeb Bush, considered a front-runner in the crowded field of Republican presidential prospects, speaks at a fund-raising luncheon in Tallahassee, Florida February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Bill Cotterell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Friday he is giving out more than $100,000 to fellow Republicans, in a sign that he is banking on his fundraising prowess to build allies across the country ahead of a potential White House bid.

The brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush has emerged as an early frontrunner in what could be a crowded Republican field in the 2016 presidential election.

Bush’s political committee, Right to Rise, announced it was handing out $10,000 to Republican state parties in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida - states that will be among the first to hold nominating contests in the 2016 primaries that decide the party candidates for the election.

His committee also gave out $5,200, the legal maximum, to 14 Republican lawmakers. Among the recipients: Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative David Young of Iowa; Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Frank Guinta of New Hampshire; and Senator Tim Scott and Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Bush has not yet formally declared his candidacy, but he has been aggressively raising money through his political action committee in a bid to secure the support of wealthy donors and party insiders.

“In the coming months, our PAC will continue to support conservative candidates and conservative policies that will ensure all Americans have the right to rise,” he said in a statement.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Frances Kerry