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FL-Senate: Jeb Considers

Will former Gov. Jeb Bush run for the open Florida Senate seat? PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Senate candidacy received a vote of confidence this afternoon from Rep. Connie Mack IV who had been discussed as a potential candidate in his own right. "Jeb Bush has a proven track record of leadership that would once again benefit the people of Florida, and indeed the entire nation," said Mack. "He would make an outstanding United States Senator."

If Bush doesn't run, expect Mack as well as Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) to quickly jump into the contest.

On the Democratic side, subtract Rep. Kathy Castor from consideration. Castor's office issued a statement removing her as a candidate this afternoon.


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is actively entertaining the idea of running for the newly vacant seat of Sen. Mel Martinez (R), a decision that until it is made will likely freeze the prospective fields for both parties.

"In light of Senator Martinez's recent announcement, Governor Bush has not ruled out running for the U.S. Senate," said Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for the former governor. "He will give it thoughtful consideration in the coming weeks and months."

Several sources close to the former governor insist that he is genuinely interested in the race but has no set timetable to make a decision. (Politico's Carol Lee and Jonathan Martin first reported on Jeb's potential interest in the race.)

In talking points about the Senate race being distributed within Bush's political world, it's made clear that the former governor almost certainly will not make his mind up this year and that the goal, for the moment, is to keep him in the mix without offering any specifics on the how and why of his decision-making process.

Given Bush's primacy and popularity within the party, none of the other GOP candidates considering the race will be able to do much of anything until he makes up his mind.

If Bush does run, he likely clears the primary field of serious challengers. If he decides against the race, then there will almost certainly be a contested race with state Attorney General Bill McCollum, Reps. Connie Mack IV and Vern Buchanan, and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio all interested.

Democrats are focused on clearing their own primary field -- conscious of how an extended primary in 2004 hurt their chances of knocking off Martinez in the general election. State CFO Alex Sink is the first choice of national Democrats and went back on her previously-planned announcement to run for reelection rather than the Senate.

Even if Sink runs, she may not have the primary field to herself as Reps. Kendrick Meek, Kathy Castor and Ron Klein are considering the contest as is state Sen. Dan Gelber. Rep. Allen Boyd, a conservative Democrat, is also in the mix -- releasing a statement yesterday that said he would make a decision on the race by early 2009.

How Bush decides has both practical and symbolic implications in 2010.

On a practical level, if Bush runs he would instantly improve Republican chances of holding the seat as his national stature, proven electability statewide and fundraising base would make him a favorite against any of the potential Democrats.

On a symbolic level, a Bush candidacy would provide a major boost for Senate Republican strategists who spent much of the last four years trying unsuccessfully to recruit well known politicians into Senate races. Landing a big fish like Jeb would start Senate GOP recruitment out on the right foot and allow National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) to begin every conversation with a potential recruit: "Well, as you know, Jeb Bush thinks this is a good time to run for the Senate...."

For the moment, however, the entire political world in Florida is on hold as Bush mulls the contest. So, we wait -- expectantly.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2008; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party , Senate  
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I didn't have time to read any of the comments so this response may be redundant. I live in Florida and suffered...and suffered is the operative word...for eight years with this reactionary. The same blood runs through Jeb's veins as runs through W's.

Jeb had a field day in Florida like his brother did in Texas. After Florida passed a class size amendment limiting class sizes to specific numbers, Jeb Bush and his fellow Republicans did everything, yes everything, to undermine it. Without knowing there were reporters in a Republican gathering, and also not knowing microphones were turned on, he said he had a 'devious plan' to undermine the amendment. He instituted a statewide test and gave the computer contract to his brother,Neil. The same Neil whom Barbara Bush demanded be a recipient of a $30,000 contract as a quid pro quo for a donation after Katrina.
Jeb Bush is a far right reactionary who sees the world only through that prism. He wrecked public education in Florida, which now ranks 50th in the country, and this is exactly what he intended to do. He exempted private schools from and the graduation test but here in Florida we have thousands who can't pass it and can't get a diploma. The sad thing is that all the other Republicans who would run are just as bad, ideologically. Maybe not as corrupt, but just as far right.

Jeb's wife was caught at an airport with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry after a shopping trip to Paris and said she had nothing to declare.
This family is corrupt to the core. The thought that this family won't go away is depressing.

Posted by: francis4 | December 5, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse


Actually GW can be tried for murder according to Vindent Bugliosi! He makes a pretty good case for it, and it would take only one honest and enterprising state prosecutor to pull it off. I sadly doubt that it will ever happen; politics being what they are.

I have had enough of the Bush family including Jeb. Does no one remember his role in the Terry Schivo (?) affair. Whatr is wrong with Florida? For that matter, what is wrong with the entire South. I think Lincoln had it all wrong: after whipping their donkeys in the Civil War, we should have kicked them out of the Union!

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | December 4, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Those old rich senile people in Florida may think he is okey but the rest of America has had all of the Bush clan we ever want to see unless they are in court or on the end of the hangman's noose.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | December 4, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I understand that president-elect Obama has promised to restore civility and bi-partisanship to politics. I assume most of those who have posted here on this issue missed that--or oppose Obama on this plan?

Interesting that the hated G. Bush has been much more gracious and cooperative on the transition than the sainted B. Clinton was in 2000. Funny how folks forget that most Democrats looked at the same intel Bush looked at and publically concluded there were WMDs in Iraq.

Posted by: tartanmarine | December 4, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Prison is too good for the criminal enterprise known as the Bush family.

Seriously, can't they be tried under RICO statutes ? God knows that their actions have been treasonous at the least, and the last time I looked, treason was still a crime.

I mean, come on, America, the republicans impeached Clinton over lying about a blow job. George Bush lied to start a f@cking WAR, for Christ's sake and he gets a pass ? And now ANOTHER f@cking BUSH wants to screw our country up more ?

That whole family should be exterminated.

Posted by: dennissuper | December 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Dear readers--ALL OF THE ABOVE and then some! Jeb Bush like his 3 brothers and father, is an arch-criminal. He has the bones of dozens of crimes in his closet, and 80% of the American people will make sure the voters of FL become acquainted with every crime, in the event this guy is so arrogant as to run for this DEM senate seat! He had NO clue and was not qualified to govern FL, was and is despised by most Floridians who bothered to pay attention to his trashing of our state, our environment and our economy! Our unemployment rate is at about 10%, thanks Jeb! He arranged four (that we know of) golden parachute, quid-pro-quo board memberships paying some $400K per year for nothing, in the last six months of his horrible second term, CSX, Tenet Healthcare, now a Jax developer, the list goes on. Check the comments in online articles about Jebthro--we in FL know the truth about this unethical carpetbagger drug-dealer from Texass! No, he will never attain elected office again and should be in prison for the ethics crimes he committed in Tallahassee! Remember, even the REPUKES were relieved when he finally left Tally! Nuf said. The name of BUSH is now MUDD, thanks to George and Jebthro! No wonder Barb is sprouting ulcers!

Posted by: JanisL55 | December 4, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Jeb Bush would be a shoe-in for Senator. With his great Bush name-recognition, the exellent job he did as Governor of Florida, the brother of President George W. Bush who has done an exellent job in the WH for 8 years, and the fact that he's married to a Latina, he can't lose and he's got the job if he wants it. The liberal Socialist/Marxists Obamanuts, who now falsely call themselves Democrats, would go balistics. Co'mon Jeb run.

Posted by: armpeg | December 4, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

Dear Jeb Bush helped his brother to get illegally elected as President in 2000 to help promote the PNAC whose objectives are for the US to be the worlds policeman. Jeb Bush is also a member of the PNAC just like VP Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, I Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz and others.

Jeb Bush is a low life lying scumbag just like his brother the Spoilt Frat Brat George Walker Bush the worst, dumbest, ignorant and lying President to have ever served the United States. There is one good place where all the Bush brothers will go and that is to Hell as their souls belong to the Devil.

Posted by: george33 | December 4, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, haven't we had enough of this family? We can only hope the people of Florida choose wisely.

Posted by: fortheclueless | December 3, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Terri Schiavo. A majority of Floridians, including evangelicals, rejected Jeb's attempt to run their lives.

And let's not forget Jeb being caught on tape saying he had "a devious plan" to frustrate the voters' passage of a referendum for limiting classroom size in the public schools.

Contempt for the people. Contempt for American values and freedoms. Jeb 2010!

Posted by: Garak | December 3, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

As far as qualifications
the old saying the apple doesn't fall far from the tree says it all....

Posted by: loudubin | December 3, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

There may be some Arab energy producing country that hasn't seen enough of the Bush family in the political arena, but most non-Confederate flag waving Americans have.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | December 3, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Is this the same Jeb Bush whose pushed the Terri Schiavo case on to the national stage for partisan political purposes? And when the umpteenth judge ruled in favor of her husband is this not the same Jeb Bush who then wanted her husband investigated for attempted murder more than ten years after she went into a coma?

The father, son and brother are all cut from the same miserable fabric.

Posted by: CynthiaD1 | December 3, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Never underestimate the idiocy of Florida Voters. Watch out, the Bush Crime Family will rise again unless they manage to flee to Paraguay or Dubai before they're indicted!

Posted by: thebobbob | December 3, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"I se the usual gang of idiot bush haters is still resident on your blog CC."
Posted by: king_of_zouk

You mean, just like the usual gang of idiot Obama haters, zouk -- like you?
Remember: Every time you point a finger, five more are pointing at you.
Want more civility? Try your own attitude adjustment, first.
Otherwise, you have no room to whine.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | December 3, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

He dare not ! This guy just wants some attention. Got it, now go far away !

Posted by: mamaherecomesthatman | December 3, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"I se the usual gang of idiot bush haters is still resident on your blog CC."

Dude, this is far from the usual gang. This guy really elicits some emotions.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh God No, not another Bush! It's OK if he stays where the Q-Tips love him, but not on the national stage please. When will normal, reasoning human beings replace the Stepford Goons in the GOP?

Posted by: ch4gas | December 3, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I se the usual gang of idiot bush haters is still resident on your blog CC.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 3, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I love all the comments from the party of "change". It looks like the only change going on in this administration is a bunch of Clinton retreads are changing their address to DC.

Regarding Bush;
First of all - you mindless lemmings wouldn't know Jeb Bush if he changed your diapers.

Secondly - you can't name one position on any issue representative of his beliefs. But of course you ignorant wind bags still believe you are qualified to speak of his lack of qualifications.

Typical liberals.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | December 3, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh God no... not another one.

Posted by: DarylAtamanyk | December 3, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: scrivener50 | December 3, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Florida's population grows steadily more ethnic and more centrist/left-leaning. The state went for Obama by a small, but certainly definite, margin of 2.5%, no razor-thin margin. I think they're going to continue to trend Democrat, and I can't believe there will be anyone elected for quite a while to ANY office with the last name "Bush."

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | December 3, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Not sure Jeb would be a shoo-in given that his brother and Dad are so poorly regarded and that people have had enough of them... It would certainly be a race that will draw much strongly partisan interest and opinion....

Posted by: RickJ | December 3, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

These Neo-cons don't give up. They're already planning their next attack. And just in time for the next election. The Neo-con report said we're going to have a Biological attack in the US right before or after Obama leaves office. How convenient. The press don't waste no time. They give us Jeb Bush and a Biological attack all within the last twelve hours. Well at least we know what we're up against in 2012.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | December 3, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

It must be a bush family trait to be delusional.

Posted by: binkynh | December 3, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Send dear Ole-Jeb to Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction & not return till he finds them .... Georgi-boi says they're still there .... it must be a family legacy ?

Posted by: gatorsn09 | December 3, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

My God, the Bushes are like a bad case of herpes. Try as you might, but you just can't seem to get rid of them. Every few years they reappear and irritate the hell out of you. I wish there was a vaccine.

Posted by: weasley1 | December 3, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he's going in through Florida because that's the only State where they know how to cheat in an election.

I beginning to believe that old saying that folks from the south are as dumb as a bag of hammers. Every other State that knows better to allow another thug go to Washington, the South just keeps on voting for. He could NEVER get elected in California.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 3, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I have taken good care of my "Anyone but Bush" t-shirt. Anyone in Florida want it? Just joking, I'm saving it for when Jeb runs for president.

Posted by: eraycollins | December 3, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

You know there's gonna be some dirt if a Bush gets in there. That can only mean that horrible family is refusing to break its ties in Washington. I've never seen more power-driven, power-hungry, self-centered people in my entire life. If Florida votes him in, then Florida ought to be held responsible for all the harm that's done to the rest of the country.

I presume this is Bush posturing so that as soon as Obama fixes the economy that George Bush destroyed, and as soon as Obama creates a surplus, we'll have a Bush standing close by to make sure he's there to rob the treasury AGAIN.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 3, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Bush doesn't live in Florida ..... Tell him to stay with the family oil wells in Texas. Geesh, hasn't the country had enough of that family ?

Posted by: gatorsn09 | December 3, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I hate that family!

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | December 3, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

You can't trust any politician named BUSH for ANYTHING except for a street sweeper.

The whole Bush FAMILY are TRADERS to the American people and our Constitution!!


Posted by: imZandor | December 3, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Caesar said: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury BUSH, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with BUSH.
I THINK JEB is doing the wrong thing at this time. The legacy of G.W.BUSH will take a long time before thinking men and women begin to forgive him. Having another Bush in the limelight will only exacerbate all the mistakes of GW. If ever a man for all his possible good intentions was in the wrong place at the wrong time, GW hit it on the head.
Jeb, even if you could win a seat in the Senate, your every decision and vote will either be looked at as a difference from your brother or just the same old Bush way.
Your presence can only put salt on the wounds of all those whose sons and daughters died or were wounded in Iraq. Those whose homes were lost or jobs and pensions were lost here due to your brothers failed policies.
My personal feelings are that the name Bush will become like Scrooge, an adjective reflecting poor judgment and failed doctrine for a period of time.

Posted by: loudubin | December 3, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we get rid of these filthy people?

This country has a serious problem.

The Bush family has exploited this nation and deserve to be imprisioned...all of them behind bars...even their mother.

Posted by: morenews1 | December 3, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cillizza, are you some kind of cheer leader for the Republicans? I heard you on T.V. proclaiming that the Georgia Senate win was some kind of a great triumph for the Rpublicans, a "surge" so to speak. Georgia, for goodness sakes. Now your onto the wonderful lift Jeb can give the party? Jeb was a terrible Governer, remember the fiasco in 2000? He had his paw prints all over that one. Then there was the Cuban boy nonsense and the terminal patient that the Republicans were trying to keep on life support for ever. This guy is a JERK! I hope he runs and gets his backside kicked and we never have to endure another incompetent Bush.

Posted by: rj2z | December 3, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JohnCadmus | December 3, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Americans have had quite enough of the ideologies, the millitary, and economic missteps and outright failures of those bearing the last name "Bush".

Jeb is for sure a better leader than his brother - but his ideology is THE SAME FAILED NEO-CON DINASAUR.

Where do I contribute to defeat his Senate bid?

Posted by: onestring | December 3, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"We aren't talking Presidency. This is a statewide office."

The Dems will pour in tens of millions to take this guy down. The Bush-Bush ads are already in the works.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 3, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, STOP. No more Bushes, PLEASE.

Posted by: Lila1 | December 3, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"He really should have been the second Bush in the White House"

I think that was the plan originally, but it was derailed when Jeb lost the Florida governorship the first time he ran and George won in Texas giving him a more direct path to the Presidency.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The two Bushes we have already had is 2 too many. What do you want to do? Sink the whole country for good? A pox on all the Bushes.

Posted by: jrw1 | December 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Is he kidding? Talk about living in a fantasy world. Didn't he notice the election. His brother is the most unpopular president in American history"

We aren't talking Presidency. This is a statewide office.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is the best thing that could happen to Jeb. I was afraid he would not have another chance on the big stage after the debacle led by his brother. He is clearly the superstar of the Bush Family, as most of Florida would confirm and only the most rabid would deny. He led Florida through difficult times created by preceding governors and legislatures, without the rancor found on the national level. He really should have been the second Bush in the White House, although no president could have recovered from the 9/11 event that shaped W's administration and his commitment to the people of Florida prevented him from taking advantage of the situation made by the misfortunes of the Clinton administration. This is a good opportunity for him, but the country benefits from potentially getting a really sharp guy in the Senate.

Posted by: stvcar | December 3, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say is, Run Jeb, Run. Ditto for P.

Posted by: bdstauffer | December 3, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: pghbil | December 3, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Is he kidding? Talk about living in a fantasy world. Didn't he notice the election. His brother is the most unpopular president in American history (and deservedly so). Anyone with a B, U, S, or H in his last name is already at a disadvantage, let alone sharing a common genetic code and being raised in the same family. A Bush couldn't be elected dog catcher anywhere in the US.

Posted by: atomic112 | December 3, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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