Hat trick: Jeb Bush to travel to South Carolina

Jeb Bush will travel to the three most-watched early presidential states in March.

(CNN)Jeb Bush is traveling to South Carolina next month, meaning the former Florida governor will have knocked out trips to the first three early voting states on what looks to be a March pre-campaign swing.

A spokeswoman for Bush confirmed he'll visit an event hosted by the Upstate Chamber Coalition on March 17 and a fundraiser for South Carolina House Republicans in Columbia on March 18. The visit was first reported by The State.
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His trip to the Palmetto State will follow a scheduled two-day swing through New Hampshire March 13-14, which comes a week after he attends the Iowa Agriculture Summit on March 7. While in Iowa, Bush will also attend a fundraiser for Rep. David Young on March 6.
    The tour of the early states will only further speculation that Bush has settled on launching a presidential bid. His political team has been aggressively courting donors and supporters behind the scenes, aiming to build up a fundraising haul that will ward off potential rivals early on. The former Florida governor has also been delivering high-profile speeches in recent weeks, weighing in on both domestic and foreign policy.
    Bush previously visited the first-in-the-South primary state when he spoke to graduates at the University of South Carolina in December, just one day before he announced he was actively exploring a presidential bid.
    Nikki Haley, the state's governor who was elected to a second term in November, told The Washington Post on Saturday that Bush gave her advise when she was first running in 2010 and then again while she was setting up her administration.
    The two, however, disagree on education policy, namely the Common Core testing standards, and Haley said she has no plans to endorse anyone soon.
    "I think what I'll do is watch," she told the Post.
    Haley, who endorsed Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary, is also close politically with other governors, including Gov. Chris Christie, who helped campaign for Haley's re-election as chair of the Republican Governors Association. South Carolina's Sen. Lindsey Graham is also among the crowded pool of potential candidates.
    Iowa, which holds caucuses rather than a primary, has the special designation of going first in the presidential nominating contest, followed by New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary. Not long after that, South Carolina holds what's become dubbed the first-in-the-South primary.