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. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I knew when Mel left, Jeb would be right around the corner.
    And it makes sense when you consider that after one term, the 2016 election will be upon us and his resume will include
    1) governing/executive experience, of a major state no less.
    2) legislative experience in the US Senate.

    IF he can get around that Terri Schiavo issue, where I don't think he stepped ini to stop Mel Martinez, Bill Frist and Rick Santorum from ripping away her husband's legal rights as her guardian (and putting the case into federal court) then he's got a shot at getting a Bush back into the White House in 8 years.

    Sorry about that folks, that's just the angle I see it working out.

    December 3, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Rick

    OH NOOOO!!!

    December 3, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. RC

    Are you kidding, I have a better chance....Why??? I'm not a BUSH

    December 3, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. President Barack Obama

    It will never happen. The Bush reign is over. We thank "W" for that!!

    Folks will NEVER trust a Bush again...

    December 3, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Pat F

    @rockturner: Read something for a change. Every independent news organization which did a recount in Florida found that Bush WON Florida – by a lot.

    You know, a lie retold a thousand times is still a lie.

    December 3, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Connie, NY

    After 12 years of being in the White House, wouldn't you run? He knows we are accustomed to Bushes in the WH, and that there are lots of people who would vote for him. He also knows that it doesn't take much for him to get back in the White House. Twelve years is not long enough, the Bushes want to be in power for twenty years. And some Americans are just crazy enough to see that happen.

    The GOP is smart. They effectively crucified Carter and made his name synonymous to ineptitude. They want America to believe that no Democrat can run this country effectively. When are we going to wake up? Why do we allow people to tell us anything, and then not practice what they preach? No more. Enough of the lies and enough of the Bushes, we deserve more. George W. effectively ran this country in the ground. When we rescue it, we're not giving it back to a Bush.

    December 3, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. The Duke

    This redicolous he needs to sit down and If the people are wise thay should make sure he does not get elected.He is a crook what about 2000 and 2004 with the election of the president.

    Ask yourself why he he been hiding out??????

    Remember those days a crook does not Change.

    December 3, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Hayden

    As a Republican I have to say, please God no. Haven't we had enough of these people? I say away with the Bushes and the Clintons.

    December 3, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Winnie, WA

    His name is mud. We've had enough. George W. has soiled this country's good name enough. Not another Bush, please America, just say no.

    December 3, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Make it stop

    God No!

    December 3, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. hk


    December 3, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. HH

    Its perverted the way "uncle Jeb" gets his kicks by wielding power,
    manipulating and controlling his "yes" people.

    December 3, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. jj

    GO AWAY, All of you Bush people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. LLR


    December 3, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Jennifer, MA

    Well, I know better. If this were a communist country we would be stuck with the Bushes forever. But it's not a communist country and there's a little thing called "a vote". You can be sure that I'm going to take my little vote and shout loudly and clearly that I in no uncertain terms want another Bush to go anywhere near my White House.

    In case Jeb is hard of hearing:


    December 3, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Helen

    Oh God No!! Even though he was our Governor(Florida) please Lord, we don't need anymore Bushes. Heaven help us if he gets in!!

    December 3, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Jer

    yah, just what we need is another Bush to help mess up Washington even more. Keep outside the beltway Jeb. It's probably for the best interest of the country.

    December 3, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Don

    The Bush family had done enough damage to this country. They need to go away.

    December 3, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. ajks

    The sad part is that he has a favorable rating in Florida, and that is where he would be elected. The rest of us have no say in whether we have to have another Bush in politics. Hope they see what a fiasco he would be and elect somebody else.

    December 3, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. Nando


    December 3, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Pam

    No more Bushes!!!

    December 3, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Phil-Little Rock

    The only Bush I want to see in the future is the beer.

    Because the people named Bush are not much smarter than the beer itself.

    At least Bush beer is less filling. America and indeed the world have had more than their fill of the Bush dynasty.

    Dynasty? Let's hope that's all they do: die nasty.

    December 3, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. sdmackey

    I am a Floridian, so I'd like to say no one ever asked me about his approval ratings, if they had maybe he would have had a 59% rating. He let homeowners insurance and property taxes run amok. He screwed up the education system and tried to privatize as many State government jobs as he could. Charlie Christ had to hit the ground running to give Floridians some type of relief. Just as Obama has to do to clean up W's mess. Everyone in Florida is not stupid, but we probably fall in the 40%. Just imagine having been governed by two Bushes at the same time.

    December 3, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. tfc

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. BUSH III !

    December 3, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Jams N.Va.

    If he is the smart one he'd run from that idea.

    December 3, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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