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. Adam from Ohio

    Ugh. Haven't the Bushes learned yet? WE'RE SICK OF THEM. Just go away, please.

    December 3, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Anonymous

    He was their Governor, and I think he has a chance at winning the Senate seat. Seems like the people of Florida love the Bushes.

    December 3, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Dixie AZ

    No, thanks.

    December 3, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Helene

    Another Bush ? Pity ! Enough ! Spare us !

    December 3, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    That's the last thing this country needs – another Bush in the federal government. Please, can't this family give it a rest? They aren't the Kennedys and they aren't a political dynasty. Theocracy for all, right Jeb?

    December 3, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. Matt B

    It's not surprising he would consider running for Senate. He was one of the top five most popular governors based on favorability ratings for six straight years. He's a smart guy and obviously did a great job in Florida.

    With that said, it's just too bad that his brother was one of the worst Presidents we have had. It will be tough for him to win to say the least with that last name.

    December 3, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Georges

    Great, just what the country needs. Although this Bush is smarter than the other one.

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Dee

    We need a break from the Bushes...tell Jeb to think about this decision for another 10-20 yrs before making up his mind....

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. jane in Columbus,ks

    I wouldn't count on his popularity of governor to carry over. By the time 2010 rolls around America and Florida in particular will still be dealing with the disasterous reign of his brother and he will be a negative cloud that will continue to hang over the Bush name for generations to come.He would do much more of a public service by continuing to lay low and keep that profile hidden as well. I think this great nation has had its fill of Bushes.

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Mari

    Why not? His brother W., ruined his chances of ever being president.

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Ann

    He will never make it. W sealed the deal for the family.

    Wave bye bye Jeb and get back to Maine.

    December 3, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |

    He comes from bad stock.

    December 3, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. lonnette33

    Not surprised about this one. Jeb was always the smarter one and more accomplished. How GW became President before him, I am dumb founded. Jeb will probably win and be quite successful. I actually like the guy. Let me stress that I am an Independent NOT a Repub.

    However, I find it ironic that it's OK to have Bush go at it, but another Clinton is out of the question. Repubs are so transparent! NOT!

    Kiss butt Hillary!

    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM


    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Moe, NY

    No, no, no, no, no....a thousand times NO! I think Jeb and George should stay out of politics in the future, perhaps careers as Used Car Salesmen would be a better choice for them! ( not mean to insult Used Car Salesmen/women). America will still be cleaning up the mess left by Bush and his administration in 2010, why would the American people want to elect another Bush ever again? Enough already!

    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. CanIcallyouJoe

    So Jeb, are you going to take money from the BinLaden Corporation to fund your campaign like your brother and father?

    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Kmp;

    Here we go again....

    If he does run and wins just watch they will try eventually for a run for the White House.. I think two Bush presidents are enough hasn't the last one done enough damage...

    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. TC Robinson

    Jeb Bush is not his brother, and the people of Florida know that. George's approval ratings were as low a year ago as they are now, and Jeb STILL had approval ratings in the 60's even then. It will be a very hard task for the Democrats to link him to his brother, who had nothing to do with all of the good Jeb did for his state.

    December 3, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. lonnette33

    I meant to say Kick butt Hillary.

    I loves me some Hillary.

    December 3, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. EW

    All politicians are the same. Nothing but a bunch of backstabbing windbags. George Washington warned of the problems of political parties.

    We need to get some statesmen in office for a change.

    December 3, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    This is just what America needs! More Bushies in power!

    December 3, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Peggy the Unemployed

    Oh no! Just what we need is another Bush in Washington. I am a Floridian and I would never vote for him. At least he is the smarter brothers.

    December 3, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Darko

    As much as you hate the Bush name, he's the best of them and had the approval ratings as governor to prove it.

    December 3, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    He might win if he can convince Palin, Cheney, Rummy, and Gonzales to campaign for him.

    December 3, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Larry, CA

    This is interesting. All the best. Let us keep the radicals away. It is important for us to stand for our principals and keep in experienced Barack in check. This is very important for our future.

    December 3, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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