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. LIP

    You can be sure that CNN will do all it can to join Jeb to his brother George. More stuff for the news room to droll on and on about, hour after hour, minute after minute until the listening and viewing audience is numb and either asleep or flipped to a different channel or web site.

    December 3, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. John

    Enough already! The country doesn't need three strikes.

    December 3, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. E POP


    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Arthur

    All Bushes are very smart. We are the suckers. Let's be sucker again.

    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Zach

    Please, for the love of God, NO!

    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. California Gold

    The only Bush I'm voting for is Barney Bush.

    Dogs Rule!

    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Jeff, North Dakota

    Good luck with that.

    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. John

    I think baked beans has a better chance.

    December 3, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Dave

    Jeb Bush actually raised a criminal crack addict. Does the party of "values" really want Noelle's dad in the senate? If he can't raise his own children correctly, should he really be in a position to be in charge of the country? I don't think so. We've given two Bushes a try already. GHWBush wasn't a disaster, but he was no major gift, either. W was bad enough to blow Jimmy Carter's horrible record out of the water. And now they want to try for a third Bush? I wouldn't advise it.

    December 3, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Dennis

    Jeb Bush is smart and did an excellent job a s Governor of Florida. He's the Bush brother who should have been President.

    December 3, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I'd be surprised if he runs for Senate in 2010. I think Papa already has him thinking ahead to President 2012. God knows the Republicans don't have any other star names out there. And it has become painfully obvious that Daddy Bush wants his family to rule the world. I so deeply REGRET having ever worked on that man's early campaigns!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Lisa M

    Anybody stupid enough to vote for another Bush?

    So how much better off are you today than 8 years ago?

    December 3, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Former republican army wife

    HMMM, Well 2010 for senate, then 2012 for pres? Between him and Palin, he's got my vote for pres!

    December 3, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Liberal in Los Angeles, CA

    Florida, he's not to be trusted. Remember the election in 2000. If it wasn't for him helping his brother, we more than likely wouldn't be in this state.

    December 3, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Didn't Jeb's wife have some legal problems with trying to sneak stuff into the U.S. without paying the duty on it or something?

    December 3, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Right To Life

    Let his career be taken off life support and let die a slow and painful death like Terry Schiavo, who deserved far better. Shame on you Jebb, that happened under your watch and should serve as a warning for anyone considering to vote for him. His political life may be precious, but not anyone else's life.

    December 3, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Caroline

    Can't the Bush Family just open up and chain of used car lots and be done with their involvement in destroying America?

    They insist on kicking us further when we're down. Please Jeb, just say no.

    December 3, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. chuck

    jeb just like his bro both considered themselves "education" governors.
    Both had their states education systems ranked worse then 45-48 of the rest of the states by the time they finished.I heard a news conference he gave completely in spanish,with no translation!!! Of course if you ask him now and he'll say its the dems who are ramming that language and illegals down our throat.What did he ever do about the illegal worker problem in florida? He didnt think there was a problem except we need more illegal workers,he needed to keep wages low here for his big business buddies.No more bushs

    December 3, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. mary dale

    All agreed, Jeb seems the honest Bush and with brains to boot. That being said, he played a major role in stealing the 2000 election so should share some of the blame for the horrendous 8 years that followed with his brother as president. I believe his children have problems, maybe he needs to pay attention to them. Please no more Bushes in politics. Arent they rich enough already.

    December 3, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. William

    G W Bush was no doubt a terrible president, and that alone was sufficient for me to vote for Obama, as an independent Florida voter. But truthfully Jeb was not a bad governor for us. His "Bush" name will hurt him but I think he is far more intelligent and a better leader than his brother was and will ever be. So I would not be opposed to him in the senate. I would much prefer him to Mel Martinez who is nothing more that a puppet for the aging S FL Cuban community

    But I will wait and see who the Dems come up with

    December 3, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Tired of W, OH


    December 3, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. obama-mama


    December 3, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Grateful11

    It's not hate just dislike for the way the Bush's think the country should be run, there's a big difference!

    December 3, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. mike

    no please, not another bush, we've had enough with two.

    December 3, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Flageek

    Terri Schiavo, 'nuff said

    December 3, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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