December 3rd, 2008
01:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Jeb Bush considering Senate run

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Jeb Bush may mount a bid for Senate."]

(CNN) – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is considering a bid for the United Sates Senate, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos told CNN Tuesday.

Republicans are urging Bush, the president's younger brother, to strongly consider making a bid for the seat currently held by outgoing Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. The first term senator announced Tuesday he would not run for reelection, setting off what's sure to be one of the most hotly-contested Senate battles in 2010.

Bush, who served as Florida governor from 1999 until 2007 and enjoyed high approval ratings, will take the next month to consider getting into the race, Castellanos said on CNN's The Situation Room. Castellanos is a CNN contributor. Bush also told the Politico he is "considering" getting into the race.

Should Bush decide to run, his presence would add immediate star power to a race Democrats are likely to make their top target in 2010. But the former governor, who has largely remained out of the spotlight over the last two years, could be hindered by his close association with the unpopular outgoing president.

"Let me give him some free advice," Paul Begala, a CNN contributor, said. "Change your name. Run as John Ellis not John Ellis Bush. The Bush brand is probably what croaked Mel Martinez."

According to Florida exit polls on Election Day, just 9 percent of Floridians approve of President Bush’s job performance. But Jeb Bush left office in 2007 with approval ratings well over 60 percent, a sign he could be insulated in the state from his brother's unpopularity.

Since exiting the governor's office, Bush has served on the board of Tenet Healthcare Corporation. He also joined the now-defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2007 as an adviser to its private equity business.

Bush endorsed McCain's presidential bid last February, though rarely campaigned on his behalf.

According to published reports, Democrats view Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, as the candidate best positioned to run for the seat. Before Martinez's announcement Sink suggested she was uninterested in the run, but it's likely she now may reconsider.

Democrats are also considering Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a high-profile supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid, though Schultz's congressional spokesman said it is unlikely she will run. Other Democrats mentioned include Reps. Kendrick Meek and Allen Boyd.

On the Republican side, Reps. Vern Buchanan and Connie Mack are said to be interested, as well as several GOP state officials.

Filed under: Jeb Bush
soundoff (768 Responses)
  1. Christina

    Oh, No- Say it isn't so! nononononononononononnonooooooooooooo!

    December 3, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Ion Hypocrisy

    After the legacy of GW, and his brother Neil, who ran the Silverado Savings & Loan in to the ground -again, at the taxpayers' expense, the LAST thing this country needs is another Bush.

    December 3, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Paul

    Haven't the Bush's hurt America enough?

    December 3, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. shaking my head

    too much hate on these CNN boards

    December 3, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. SJC

    To Cynthia.

    You said:

    "I see the liberal haters are out. How much do any of you know about this man and his record. Only because he is a "Bush" is the reason you spew your hate. You have no valid arguements. To question the entire Bush family on their credibility or intergity because you feel W was a horrible president is the liberal hating way. How ridiculous!"

    I see you're following the conservative tradition by throwing the word "liberal" randomly around to support your otherwise valid point. I agree that judging Jeb based on George is unjust. But I think it's conservatives who have mastered the art of "hate" speech as evidenced by your heroes Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, O'Reilly and Hannity. Conservative's lifes blood is hate. Clinton bashing, gay bashing, immigrant bashing and race baiting keep those conservative hearts beating.

    December 3, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. TJ Johnson

    Sorry, Obamaniacs, but Jeb Bush was a very popular governor in Florida. This state was highly prosperous during his tenure. Gov Crist is also very popular. Either of these men would be a terrific senator. And, note, you don't get to vote unless you are a citizen of Florida - might as well keep your nasty comments to yourself if you don't live here.

    December 3, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Jeff

    I wouldn't buy a used car from Jeb Bush let alone have him represent me in Congress. The name Bush = catastrophe.

    December 3, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. AA

    Jeb Bush going from governor to senator. Its like he's being demoted.
    Going down in status. But that is all he qualifies for. He is not presidential material like his brother. He is incredibly unlikeable and wimpy. He could never handle the presidency. He is a weak person and the black sheep of the Bush family.

    December 3, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Gin

    The Bush name is no good here anymoe. Find something else to do.

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Will18E

    Listen folks, George was a far ridiculous pic from the Bush litter, than Jeb , so get ready. Jeb will run for the senate then Pres in 2016.
    If you are over and tired of the Bush's better open your wallets and donate to the Democratic nominee for the Florida Senate seat. Even if your not a Florida resident.

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Nanimae'ole on da mainland

    Yeah, wasn't Jeb the Governor back when the Republicans STOLE the Presidential election there in 2000??? Don't tell me Katherine Harris didn't get her marching orders from old Jeb. And Florida is the reason we ultimately ended up with George in the White House. No disrespect to Florida voters– just to the people that were "in charge" during that election. And the head dog would have been Jeb Bush.

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Riaz

    The Plan:

    1. Ask a GOP Senator to vacate a seat
    2. Get Elected as a Senator
    3. Run for President as GOP candidate in 2012
    4. Condoleezza Rice is the VP choice in 2012

    WOW... The started again !!!

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Bruce

    Some here seem to foget his involvment in the Schivo case, where he let government enter into our personal lives and decsions. That is his Chappaquidick if you ask me.
    He as governor had no business involving his own beleifs in that process. Again a Bush child attitude that they are above the law.
    Anyone who thinks that if he runs for Seneate and gets elected, that he will not try for a Presidential run has thier head buried in the sand. The Bush's want to be the Royal Family of this Country....enough...

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. fred

    Why do all of you people think everyone with the same last name is the same person? Hello, Jeb is his own man. If you don't vote or vote for someone based on their last name, isn't that the same as voting for someone for their gender or color or religion?

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. brian

    After Jeb we will get his son... George P. the Mexican American.

    Wow! Wingnut heads will explode!!

    Bobby Jindal and George P. Bush are the future of the republicans.

    Where will all the lily white evangelical racists go?

    December 3, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Al Mellen

    America needs Bush like i need the tooth fairy.

    December 3, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Average Joe

    Ok, haven't we suffered under the Bush clan enough? This Family should go down in the history books like the James Brothers at least they did not pretend tobe anything but BANK ROBBERS. They are nothing but white collar criminals that should under no circumstances be let near money, banks, and the business world. CROOKS, CARPETBAGGERS, SCALLYWAGS and did we forget the savings and loan mess of the 80's the list is to long to print.

    December 3, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. MIKE

    Perhaps by 2010 his daughter will no longer be a user of the drugs of her choice, perhaps his wife will have learned it is against the law to attempt to bring back thousands of dollars of clothes from overseas without declaring them at customs, perhaps he will realize that international law is more important and is the over riding factor in determining whether or not a kid should spend his life with his father rather than some"Cuban relatives" he had never seen and perhaps he has learned the meaning of "brain dead" and no chance of survival.
    Not likely because he is, after all a Bush – but possible.

    December 3, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Fla. Voter

    NO more Bush's. These brothers have little respect for our constitutions. George Bush disregarded our US Constitution, and Jeb Bush trampled on our FL Constitution (Schiavo & vouchers). Enough of the Bush brothers thinking they are above the law.

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Mar

    Give me a break! We had enough of Jebbie in Florida. Will the name Bush ever end?

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Madrep

    We have been adequately Clintonized too. That's all I read about this new "change" you all voted for; Clinton this and Clinton that, Hillary this, Bill that and let's not forget, a good portion of our new President's staff are former Clinton!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Me

    Auren Manners wrote:
    "Bush me once, Shame on you…. Bush me twice, Shame on me."

    In fact, it's shame on us (me and you), as we have been bushed twice already – don't forget Daddy Bush.

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. Simpliticus

    Let 's see if Floridians can get past the problem of poor presidential candidates or for that matter senatorial candidates. Was this the reason George H.W. Bush cried in that George W. Bush had done so poorly that Jeb Bush would never be considered! My thoughts are that the S&L thing occurred on George H.W Bush's watch while this thing is unfolding under George W. Bush. What praytell does Jeb want to fiddle with?

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. grahame

    It's not just Jeb Bush, by the way we did see this coming,
    it's the whole republican thing. If these war mongering dangerous losers get into power again then they will declare war in all directions. God help the USA and the US forces who will have to carry the directions of these power hungry morons. It's not these guys who have to go into a fire-fight but just like George W will hide under the bed until the bad men go away

    December 3, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Robert

    Jeb is an excellent person and good politician and I know this because I live in Florida and he was our Gov. for 8 years. He had a strong approval rating. Just because people don't like his brother, The President, does not mean he can't be a good person or politician.
    It's funny to see that people start talking bad about him just because they don't like his brother and yet they want people to be fair on Obama and give him a chance.
    If I should give Obama a chance, then we shall give everyone a chance!

    December 3, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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