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. Ben

    Trim your eyebrows.

    December 3, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. indiePA


    December 3, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Matt B

    You're missing the point. 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.

    Lucky for him, he's a lot different than GW. Hey, I'm sure you all loved JFK and his brother murdered someone and left her at the bottom of a lake. You can't punish people for having crazy siblings.

    December 3, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Lee in TN

    Two of these guys are enough. And, even two terms of the latter is way too much. Please, spare me the craziness of another one in Washington.

    December 3, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Les, Utah

    I am a yellow-dog Dem, originally from Arkansas, and I still remember my dad went out and bought 2 good pairs of work shoes when Ike was elected. Didn't think he would be able to afford more soon.
    But to the point. Jeb surely can't be any worse than Dad and W., but why take the chance?
    I'm 81 and don't expect to have to worry about new work shoes.

    December 3, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Laura, Boston

    How would any of you like being held responsible for something you didn't do. Jeb Bush is not George Bush and shouldn't be treated as such.

    If your brother were a bank robber, would you want people to treat you as a criminal? I don't think so.

    He was a good governor during his tenure and I think the people of FL will remember his record as Governor and not his brothers record as President.

    December 3, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Steve

    Jeb has star power? So what? Sarah Palin has star power, meaning energy, personality, and charisma. All of that can obfuscate an utter dearth of competence and trustworthiness among those who lack the ability to see deeper than the surface. The Bushes and their ilk have brought this country to rock bottom. We now have the perspective we need to recover and thrive once more.
    Obama has energy, personality and charisma, as well as the intelligence, integrity, and solid ideas the Bushes and Republicans in general lack.

    December 3, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Pat in IL

    Unfortunately, for him, Jeb has a very unpopular last time. It's just possible that he is the only member of that family who actually has intelligence and morality. I'm saddened for him that he has to fall on his brother's sword.

    December 3, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Weren't the first two Bushes enough of an example of what a complete farce this family is?!?!?!

    December 3, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. MikeH

    The only thing good I have to say about Jeb is he appears to know how to speak correct syntactic english.

    I would think his extramarital affairs would limit his ascendancy.

    December 3, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Greed is not good

    Please aren't we burnt-out enough already on the Bush family dynasty?

    It is bad enough that today as I type this there has been a member of the Bush and Clinton family as President or VP going all the way back to 1980!!!

    December 3, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Greed is not good

    Isn't it bad enough that today as I type this there has been a member of the Bush and Clinton family as President or VP going all the way back to 1980!?

    December 3, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Steve, Jacksonville, Fl

    As an American and a Floridian I'm sick of being "Bushwacked". Let him run. He will be soundly defeated.

    December 3, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Nancy, ID

    George and Barbara must have been on drugs when they had these kids. They grew up to be selfish and ignorant. But I guess when you have money, brains don't matter.

    December 3, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. AA

    If Mitt Romney looks like a greasy used car salesman then Jeb Bush
    looks like an overweight miami real estate agent who wants to sell you beach front property.

    December 3, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Hey, Florida, get real for once ... you saddled this country with the single worst President in history. You people did this.

    Please God show some remorse and take some responsibility for the mess your boy George W. foisted on us and the world.

    Now you want to elect ANOTHER Bush to a position of national leadership ??? You people have been spending way too much time in the sun without your sunblock.

    BTW ... the old man wasn't such a great leader either. The only thing that elected him in 1988 was his ability to inject racism into the Presidential campaign.

    December 3, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. red

    another bush??????

    please go help US ALL

    December 3, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. no bailouts

    run jeb, but not for senate.

    December 3, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. red



    December 3, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. James

    Oh great THREE FAILED Bushes!

    America can not handle or DESERVE 3 FAILURES!

    No More Bush's!!!

    December 3, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. The smart Guy

    Say it isn't So!!!

    December 3, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Archie_Leach

    "bush" will be a whipping boy term for the Democratic pols for the next generation just a "Hoover" was the whipping boy term for the Democrats from the 30s to the 60s and as "Carter" was the whipping boy term for reSCUMlican VERMIN since 1980.

    December 3, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. FL for Obama

    People in FL...have you lost your minds? Do you remember Gov. Jeb Bush? He was a total disaster (except when it came to hurricanes). As a teacher in FL that now ranks 50th thanks to Bush/Crist policies, we CANNOT let this man run for anything except garbage collector!!

    December 3, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Debbie

    Oh God no not another one.

    December 3, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Peter (CA)

    I feel for Jeb. He is the smart one, the one everyone thought would be President. hey, if Florida wants him, whatever.

    But, that should be set as his level of competence–senator. No cabinet posts, no VP slot, and, for the love of God, no Presidential campaign.

    mike @10:45-why put that post on this thread and show your ignorance?

    December 3, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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