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. geddy2112

    That's scary to say the least.

    December 3, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Don H. New Port Richey, FL

    Having been a native of Florida and having Jeb as our governor, I sure hope that IF Jeb runs for the vacant senate seaat he is defeated.
    Not only did 'W' ruin the whole country, Jeb ruined Florida by allowing high property taxes, high property insurance rates and high utility rates which have caused a great burden upon Florida citizens.

    In short, One Bush in Washington has been more than enough!

    December 3, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. geddy2112

    That's scary to say the least. I think it's time to OUTSOURCE our government.

    December 3, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Texas Teacher

    Here we go... time to dust off the little brother and put him to position for 2012 or 2016.

    Amazing just how very transparent these people are...

    For an organization and administration that did everything behind closed doors and refused to disclose almost anything unless they WANTED the public to know for an ulterior reason.

    *heavy sighing* And the beat goes on.....

    December 3, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Cortland Steck

    The Bush dynasty was part of the 20th century and unfortunately for the United States and the world it carried on too far into the new millennium. Whereas Barack Obama's campaign was successful because he is a part of the new America and he recognizes the changing times and embraces them. Federal involvement by JEB would only serve as an attempt to hold onto the past by those who can't accept the changing world around them. In this new day and age there must be newer, brighter and certainly more capable people willing to serve the people. The Bush family may act like a parent who believes they can't let go of a childs hand. But America is grown up now and doesn't need it's hand held – particularly by another Bush.

    December 3, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Gary

    Sometimes I wonder if CNN actually chooses articles soley to watch people get riled up about it.

    This is a non-issue. If Jueb wanted to further his political career by going from Governer of Florida to Senator, then good for him.

    You people whining are morons.

    December 3, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Aex Monti

    He is a very good guy, and very smart, he will make a great senator.
    I lve in Florida and I will vote for him.

    December 3, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. nelson

    Please no more Bushes! If this one ever makes president, the country will go down hill again for 4 and after stealing and election, 8 years.

    December 3, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. earle,florida

    News Flash: If PE Obama screws-up, Jeb's a shoe-in,and this folks has been penciled in the "Rove's Strategy Playbook" for a decade! The "Dynasty Continues,........."

    December 3, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Tamarra

    Dear God, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    This family is God awful when it comes to politics. They are either do-nothings, ask-nothings, or war mongers. See a pattern here? They're only good at starting fights and spending money...since when did we make "act like a buffoon" one of the criteria for running for office?

    Nah, nah, nah-nah...nah, nah, nah-nah, hey, hey, Bush, GOOD-BYE!
    EVERYBODY! nah, nah, nah-nah....

    December 3, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Daddy Bush, can you get me a job as president or senator for christmas. I've been a good boy all year round. Because I come from a rich family I am entitled to it. I want what ever my brother got. A toy gun or president or senator.

    December 3, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Rebecca

    I don't think I can even stomach the prospect of another Bush being near Washington, D.C. He stole the election for his brother in 2000. I will always believe that.

    December 3, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Paul C.

    Stay home, stay quiet and shut up JEB. We don't want you and it will probably be another generation before a Bush ever gets a high political office. And I know the righties would jump through the gates of Hell if JEB told them to so anyone defending this clown are mindless idiots. Under his governorship, HHSA Foster Home Licensing, over 300 children went missing off the rolls. And his response was pitiful to say the least. Also, at least most of us in the real world can see this phoney for what he is. So Florida, at least you folks did the right thing this year in helping Obama win. You're on the right, no pun intended, track so don't scar and dirty it by putting this doorknob in any public office.

    December 3, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Albert

    As a long-time Floridian, I can say that Jeb was NOT a great governor or even a particularly good governor. He sometimes looked good during hurricane season but his legacy as a governor was worse than mediocre. His name could be Jeb Smith and I would have the same opinion.

    December 3, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Andy B

    No thanks Jeb America is already Bushed.

    December 3, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. david

    If Jeb decides to run it will be a pleasure to vote against him one more, and hopefully the last, time. Not all in this state are fans of this or the other Bush brother. I'll still be casting my ballot against any and all Republicans for many years to come.

    December 3, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Theresa

    Bushes out for good. No more Bushes in Washington, please!!

    December 3, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    carol from Wisconsin you did have to deal with the hell floridians had to deal with and are still dealing with so, how can you say that he was a good governer? unless you are related.

    December 3, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Kwadwo

    It is common knowldge that Jeb is more intelligent that George, and Jeb, not George, should have run for the presidency. If Jeb's ultimate goal is the White House, my advice: even if you get to Washington, don't make your move for the Oval Office until the ghosts of GWB, Dick C, and Palin are cleared out. Those are going to hunt the GOP for a long time (no less than 8 year).

    December 3, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. moth


    December 3, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Connie

    Just the thought of another Bush in Washington provokes my gag reflex.

    December 3, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Ernie

    America needs more trees and less Bushes.

    December 3, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Kelcie

    Oh my! – Say it aint so!

    December 3, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Bush is no worse than that other dynasty named Clinton. And yes people are just stupid enough to elect this guy. After all it's his "Destiny" as Hillary has often said about herself. Bozo's in-Bozo's out. Nothing but BOZO"S.

    December 3, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Elizabeth

    This must be a joke. Can the Bushes please just get out of politics before they ruin anything else? Who would be dumb enough to vote for another Bush??

    December 3, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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