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. USF Grad

    Just because Jeb can speak better than his brother doesn't make him more palatable to the electorate. He's actually much more dangerous. Remember the Terry Shivo debacle? Martinez was a joke and needs to be replaced by a democrat!

    December 3, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. John

    Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton, Bush....


    December 3, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Julia

    Jeb Bush is a good man. it is bizarre to read Dems trashing a person because of his relatives actions. Shame on you, Liberals! If I did think bad about Democrats, I think WORSE NOW !

    December 3, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Tulsa

    Pat F.,
    Well, just goes to show our educational system has slipped considerably.

    December 3, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Tim

    I've got some cheese for all you whiners if you are interested.

    Go Bush!

    December 3, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Meh

    I've never seen a family filled w. so many corrupt individuals. PLEASE don't let him win!

    December 3, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Have mercy on us all! We absolutely do not ever need another Bush anywhere near Washington D.C.

    December 3, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. cornchips

    wasn't he governor of the state that rigged the recount? yeah, like we need another bush in office...

    December 3, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. cile/fairhiope, al

    Why do they think they are so entitled? I will say as a former Floridian, he has more sense than his brother which is not saying much. But give us a break!!! "BUSH" is the newest four letter word!!!

    December 3, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Dante in Madison, WI

    Please. This guy is a joke, just like his family.

    This is the same crackpot who thinks that Republicans should setup a "shadow government" to run their own agenda behind the scenes and away from public scrutiny.

    Send all of the Bushes off packing to Guantanamo.

    December 3, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Heavenly848

    As a Floridian I was in high school from 99 to 03 of Jeb Bush's term.

    He cut funding for education so low that our school did not have enough paper for us to receive handouts so we were forced to write most things by hand. Additionally, my jr and sr year most bathrooms had to be locked because there was not enough toilet paper for our school. We brought toiletries to schools as service projects for the National Honor Society I was in.

    Lastly, Jeb supported the FCAT which is a state wide standardized test that was ineffective in mearsuring and predicting scholastic apptitude. According to the test I was suposed to repeat high school. However, I somehow mangaged to graduate with a 4.0 and with Honors and earn a B.S. Psychology with honors. Oh yeah, when asked to take the test, Jeb Bush said he did not have to prove anything!!!!!

    No More Bush

    December 3, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Tommy

    One, Two, Three strikes you're out at the old ball game!!!

    December 3, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Thomas

    BUSH / PALIN 2012

    NO< NO< NO< NO<

    December 3, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. NuffSaid

    Bush is the reason I am no longer a Republican (now an independant voter). I did not vote for Bush (in either election) and would never vote for anybody close to him, let alone family. If the RNC is stupid enough to even consider this idea, you can count on another Democrat as president. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me"!!!

    December 3, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. CGC

    So instead of looking at a person's accomplishments, ideas, etc., a majority of you judge people based on their families. What sense does that make? I am utterly different than my family and I'm sure you are too. Let's just grow up a bit and look at individuals instead of last names.

    December 3, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Jeb was a crucial member of the PNAC that used deceipt to launch the Iraq war in violation of both moral and international law....he is just as much a criminal and terrorist as his dumber brother The Decider. Plus he pulled strings to get the 2000 election rigged here in Florida. NO to him in ANY office, much less the White House!

    December 3, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Bojeng

    Nastrodamus said, "when the third become the ruler in the New World, the war that end ends all wars will begin........"
    Just what we need from the third Bush...The World War III ..

    December 3, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Caroline

    All you people with cruel comments, STOP the blame. President Bush did his best. What goes around comes around. You all will get yours.Nasty people have nothing but bad luck in life. You all sound so unhappy. Always blaming others.I bet you all voted for this Obama well just remember folks in a few months you all voted for him. Things are going to get worse.

    December 3, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. HGL

    Barricade 95 and block all other roads to DC. Keep him out of Washington.

    December 3, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. WDM

    I think Jeb feels that he deserves the presidency. After all, he through the 2000 Florida election so that his brother could be president. So we have Jeb to thank for 8 years of hell!

    December 3, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Dave in Florida

    Jeb! is smarter and better than W, which ain't saying much. But he won't win. He won reelection in 2002, when his brother was still popular and BEFORE the Terri Shiavo fiasco. Bush fatigue is real. 2 years won't be enough for Jeb! to distance himself from the memory of his brother. He's considering a run, but I bet he sits 2010 out.

    December 3, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Brett


    December 3, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Auntie Dorothy


    Pls, fellow Americans living in Florida, please do not put this country in any more jeopardy! The Bush FAMILY is toxic, conniving and dangerous - not to mention, just plain stupid!


    We're screwed if these people are allowed to resurface.

    December 3, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Annie

    As a Florida resident, I will say that Jeb Bush is smart and a decent seemingly sincere person. When George was running for president people were saying that Jeb is considered the smart one. He was for the most part a reasonable governor. He did however manage to offend and upset a good portion of the Florida electorate and if he chooses to run will have a very difficult time.

    December 3, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Amanda Winnicky

    All I can say is that the Bush family must have very THICK skins to think that any self respecting human would vote for any member of the anti Christ family. They have done enough damage, not only in this country, but around the world which will take a long time to heal. !!!

    December 3, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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