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. hugh ~ california

    Even if Jeb Bush is twice as smart as Georgie W, he's still a lame choice for the senate. He'll be just as lame as his lame duck brother.

    December 3, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    I would like to think that Florida has come to it's senses by now, but I could be wrong!

    December 3, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Michael Trout

    I think Jeb should run. for one thing it keeps the bush name in the newspapers. this is bound to be good for Obama. It also cemments the notion of a gop incapable of doing anything but making the same mistakes again and again. go Jeb! Between Boehner, Chambliss and Jeb it also clearly shows the republicans as the party for southern whites of a certain outlook .
    The cards are on the table.

    December 3, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Richard

    go Bush, I love to see demorats whin all the time. We have seen what happen to our country since the the dem took congress. Lowest approval rating in history.

    December 3, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Ken

    Good grief! FLA would be as dumb as GA, if they elect JEB to the senate. By all accounts GEORGE was the smarter one; given how well that worked out, we're supposed to now think JEB belongs in the senate? It takes some real gullable beings to follow this [R] fairytale.

    December 3, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. capnmike

    NOT ANOTHER BUSH!!! Pleeeeease! Anything but another corrupt failure! Did you know what Jeb Bush's last job was??? HE WAS FINANCIAL ADVISOR to LEHMAN BROTHERS!!!! He's also a religious nutcake.

    December 3, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Former republican army wife

    REMEMBER TERRY SCHIAVO!!!! That will be the rallying cry of the anti-Jeb community. Schiavo was a pathetic joke. It happened under Jeb's watch. Sure he was just the Governor, but he could have stood up and stopped it. Instead he let it go on and turned the private hardships of a family into a political firefight. That was pathetic!!!! Jeb dug his own grave and doesn't need his big brothers help in losing an election.

    December 3, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Alex

    Please Florida, you're better than this!

    December 3, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Ken in Dallas

    Not in that tie.

    December 3, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. bill

    this freak wants the GOP to set up a "shadow government".
    thanks but no thanks to freaks like jeb.

    December 3, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Ken in Dallas

    @Chris W:

    George is the elder brother, by around seven years.

    If you're going to get snotty about disputing facts, maybe you should check yours first.

    December 3, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. deb

    To the poster who thought Jeb was the older brother...

    Dubya is the oldest child born in July 1946. Jeb was born in Feb. 1953. Jeb has always been the "golden" child in the eyes of his parents while Dubya was the "problem" child. They wanted Jeb to run for President, not Dubya. I personally think they all should just "go away".

    December 3, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Godluvr

    Push him back, way back! He paved the way for his brother to get into office, so he should share some of the blame. And where is Ms. Harris? I hope she is not mismanaging another office!

    It's time for Change, not regression!

    December 3, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Jewels

    Good grief!! After 12 years of the Bush family in the White House, do you really think that Jeb is any different? Just goes to show that ignorance does NOT skip a generation. Florida voters: take a good, long, hard look ..... I can't believe there is not a better choice in the great state of Florida.

    December 3, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. BeefyDaddy


    Not another one!! Hasn't this country suffered enough?!?!

    December 3, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. tpfleming

    Just what we need. Another Bush in national politics. I'm shocked that he could actually win in Florida.

    Tim Fleming
    author, "Murder Of An American Nazi"

    December 3, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Cortland Steck

    It's interesting to read comments from people who say you shouldn't dislike Jeb just because he is a Bush. Well I live in Florida and was here while Jeb was governor and can tell you he operates just like his brother. He is for turning government run entities over to big business, he eliminated any and all competition instead of working with them, he grabbbed authority away from the other governing bodies of the state and put it where he wanted it, appointed cronies to positions not based upon ability, and generally did what he wanted. IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU WANT AGAIN!!!

    December 3, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Proud to be American

    I will travel to Florida with an entourage of supporters for the OTHER person running against Jeb. Stop the Republican madness now.

    December 3, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. angie in NC

    Same name, same gene pool, same problem. NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. RLS

    You are all crazy. Those of us that actually live in Florida love Jeb Bush! He'd have my vote in 2010, and since none of you live in this district, your votes don't count.

    December 3, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Janice Illinois

    Be afraid!!! Be VERY afraid!!!!

    December 3, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Rory O Shea

    Hey JEFF-

    I hate to break it to you but several people, including PRESIDENTS, listens to Paul Begala. Get over it, he's smarter than you are.

    December 3, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Godluvr

    To Pat F: It doesn't matter if you are Magna Carta Lordy, you are still a ZERO!

    To Alan: I'll help you get tkts to leave the country forever!

    LIGHT of the world, Please shine some LOVE in Malcontents (R)!

    December 3, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Park

    I hope you all would like to be judged based on your relatives.

    Leave Jeb alone. He's not George. And his son, whose name is George, is going to be a big one day.

    December 3, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Mary

    What a bunch of jerks the majority of you are!

    December 3, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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