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. toots1282

    Jeb Bush destroyed the education system in Florida. Keep him away!

    December 3, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Not another Bush! We've had enough self-righteous bible-thumping!

    December 3, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. too transparent

    What a perfect set-up to put him in the WH in 2016. It wouldn't be 2012 – he'd have to start running for POTUS the day he'd take office in the Senate...and they country won't be over it's GOP hang-over (Bush, especially) before 2016. Let's hope my fellow Floridians have enough sense to vote in the right person based on something other than name recognition and familiarity.

    December 3, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Shaun,FL

    Hey Robert! I live in Florida too, and I think he sucks. If it wasn't for him and the fraud voting scandal. America wouldn't be in this situation right now. Jeb Bush fraud voting. Yes! It runs in the family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. El Paso Kid

    Democrats, let us unite once more to keep this f8uckup out of office. No more sniffing around by another bush. Shadow government – another unintelligent bush running around the earth. How many of these idiots were produced? And, why? They can all go to hell.

    December 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. MS from SOFLA

    the third Bush is NOT the charm!

    December 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Dave

    Aren't we tired yet of the 20 year Bush/Clinton rule/dynasty?? These people have to go. And we got BO putting one as a top secretary in his cabinet. yikes.

    December 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. SD

    I hope AMericans as well as world do not need another war.
    Bush Senior-Gulf War
    George Bush – Iraq War
    Jebb Bush-Iran War
    Do u really need one more

    December 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Maggie Muggins

    Jeb's policy for the senate is to fight the Democrats at all costs with obstructionism and their own warped policies. Those are basically his own words.

    The problem is the recent election for President clearly showed a large segment of the population have less than average intelligence with their main focus being guns and religion. The rest of the issues can look after themselves.

    December 3, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Lisa M

    Prove to me that he's a real conservative, not a Bible Thumping, warmongering idiot who thinks that 'Trickle down' works.

    December 3, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Kwesoe

    Then history will show that America was once ruled by Bushmen.

    December 3, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. NickNas

    SO just WHO wants another BUSH to run them into the ground??

    Jeb was ONLY useful because all the time he was in Politics either his Father or his Brother was in power. ANYONE could have a career with that kind of network. They are gone now HE should go.

    December 3, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Wacky Obacky

    Not surprisingly, I don't see all of these posters getting up in arms about Hillary being named as Secy of State and Bubba (disbarred for lying under oath) filling in for her as senator of NY! Or, for that matter, the corrupt legacy that is the Kennedys... Consistency of argument and lack of hypocracy are not hallmarks of the wacky left.

    December 3, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. jk


    December 3, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Mickie

    Oh PLEASE! Say it isn't so! You may be the favored son, but you're not mine. None of you Bushes have done anything that has enriched the Country. Every time one of you is in office, the money goes down the drain. And the Senate is just a prelude to running for President, especially since repubilcans have no leadership right now.

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. patriot

    Don't know much about Jeb other than he can speak in complete, coherent senences. But please, he's a Bush, and that's a strike against him no matter what his other qualifications and attributes are. Voters want new, relatively untainted choices for POTUS candidates.

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Timothy

    Absolutely not. If the Bush family is allowed to grace Washington again, someone should be brought up on charges.

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Big Ed

    OH NO!!! Not again! Make the bad men go away!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Dan, Coral Springs, FL

    It's not the Bush brand that cooked Martinez. Mel simply does not represent his constituents. He is doing them a big favor by stepping down after this term.
    I seriously doubt Jeb would win despite a reported "popular" reputation in Florida. It will take many years to get rid of the bad taste left in ones mouth from his kin.

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Taylor Bradford

    As a result of the Jeb Bush legacy, Florida now ranks as one of the lowest states in health and education. Many Floridians still consider Bush to have been a good governor. Maybe we deserve what we get. I think we may all suffer from sun exposure.

    December 3, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Shaun,FL

    Madrep. I also don't remember Clinton turning America into sh** either! I would rather have Clinton people than BUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How about this ticket for 2012 PALIN/Bush ticket. That sounds very scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Nu Uh!

    Oh NO – Look, I used to live in Florida – and Jeb is a disaster! Druggie daughter and all...

    Nope... He might've made a better Prez than his idiot brother, but that doesn't say much. I'm hoping much of America is 'Bushed Out' and if they EVER see that name on a ballot again they'll vote for a tomato before they vote for another Bush!

    December 3, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Roberto Duran

    No Mas.

    December 3, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Joe

    Just say NO to more Bush

    December 3, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Ron of Baltimore

    Well, Jeb always was the smarter of he and George. Still, he was fatalistically complicity, along with James Baker and a few unknown faces, in the infamous "hanging chad" fiasco that led to his brother's mystical win over Al Gore. With that legacy, I'd take Begala's advice-change your name-and shift to another career, if not another country, sir.

    December 3, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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