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. Chris

    Ignorance is like the common cold on this site, its everywhere. I swear Liberals make me question why stupid people get to vote...
    In any account, I actually live in Florida unlike the rest of you fan-boys, and Jeb would be a definite step up from Martinez, you all have no idea though, so you gravitate to his last name and the inevitable starts. Stupidity knows no bounds in this country, thanks for bringing us down.

    December 3, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Erin

    My first and only interview question for Jeb Bush:

    So, Jeb – can you tell me what policies your brother George has supported that you disagree with?

    December 3, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Marcus Riley Philadelphia, PA

    I am fondly reminded of the old dynasties of Europe.....the Sun Kings of France, the Hapsburg Empire. The sure sign of a dead democracy is the same royal families being "elected" over and over again. The elite finally gave us all a break by letting us have Obama...but if he doesn't do a good job in keeping the wealthy as wealthy as they are, then another of the old dynasty waits in the wings....

    December 3, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Floridian

    Jeb was a great governor! I hope he runs!

    December 3, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Fish Mann

    No more Bushes, please!

    December 3, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. steve

    I feel sick.

    December 3, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Raul & Odalys Florida

    Jeb Bush was a HORRIBLE Governor especially where EDUCATION is concerned!!! He started the GRADING SYSTEM OF SCHOOLS & FCAT so Teacher's "TEACH TO THE TEST" and can't just educate our children!!!
    If Floridians are smart, THEY WILL NOT VOTE FOR ANOTHER BUSH!!! His name ALONE should "shut people OFF"!!!!

    December 3, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Tiaunia, Texas

    I'm going to cry

    December 3, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |

    Pleazzzzzzzzzzze N – O – T ANOTHER BUSH 🙁

    December 3, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Anne E.

    Ever heard the saying, "if you had a brain, you'd be dangerous"?
    That would be Jeb Bush.

    December 3, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Lee

    I'm no fan of his family, but Jeb is the Bush we were SUPPOSED to have as President. The Bush plan was for both brothers to run for governor, and whichever succeeded would end up running for President. Jeb was his daddy's choice, but he was defeated the first time he ran in Florida. By the time Jeb was elected, it was too late to put the plan in for him to run in 2000. So brother George got the push. The outcome would have been the same, because we all know that Daddy and his CIA cronies (Chaney, Rumsfeld, etc) ran the show all these years...

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. B in FL

    Jeb ruined education in Florida ... slashed funding for higher education to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and instituted the FCAT exam which has turned K-12 into a testing factory rather than a place for learning.

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Brady

    This is ridiculous! I am sick of all of these comments bashing Jeb Bush because his last name is Bush. It's idiotic, childish, and stupid. I don't know much about Jeb Bush, but he did leave office with a 60% approval rating. That says something to me. Stop with these petty and childish comments!

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Jazz

    What a waste. Another Bush Oh my God

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. JF

    To GB – "People in Florida surely cannot be that stupid"

    Wanna bet?? Let's take a stroll down Election 2000 memory lane ....

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Mike, St. Louis

    I have more faith in Jeb than George to do the right thing. Jeb has always, at least it seemed, to be more competent of an individual than his brother.

    December 3, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |

    That is seriously sad.

    December 3, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Carol from Wisconsin

    Why shouldn't Jeb run. He was a very good governor, very competant and very popular. Frankly, I get so sick and tired of the "political" hate people. I welcome the time when we can converse as adults regarding politics. The hate mongering that continues to permeate the left is so immature, rude and childish. They need to grow up.

    December 3, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. When does the hatred end?

    Just think if his name were Jeb Palin?

    December 3, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. LF Oneto

    I agree with the person who wrote about too many red necks in Florida and JB might win it again. Talking about stupid people, just remember Ronald Reagan and GW Bush: Two imbeciles with a combined IQ of 30 and were elected twice, and if the Constitution would allow it, they would have been elected for a third term...

    December 3, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. sandee in Portland

    It's not just because his last name is Bush or he is the President's brother....the issue is when are we going to stop electing entire families to govern our country. He may have been popular while he was governor; however, that was during the time of the prosperity bubble that has since burst.

    December 3, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Cardinal

    Yeah...right...what this country needs is another idiot from that family.

    December 3, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. irishny

    So because you people dont like his brother,that means that you dont like him??
    Sounds sort of moronic to me.

    December 3, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Chris

    I'm in favor of a constitutional amendment which would ban anyone with the name Bush, or with relations to the Bush family, from ever holding public office – ever.

    December 3, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Pat F

    @yes we can: Actually, I am very intelligent, I did graduate from a prestigious university, but not cum laude. I graduated Magna cum laude.

    Thanks! I guess not all Democrats are so mean!

    December 3, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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