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. indevoter9

    No more Bushes' please...enough is enough. We broke as it is and we do not need anymore help from this family.

    December 3, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. obama-mama

    I wonder if Palin would pack up her folks and move to Florida so she can run. Crazier things have happened. She is not getting enough attention in Alaska.

    December 3, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Dave in Atlanta

    I knew it!!! I knew that's why Mel Martinez was stepping down.

    December 3, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Bob Sacamano

    Another Bush would be fantastic!!!! I enjoy WARS followed by recessions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Francis Nicholas

    Judge a man by their character, not by their name. I think Jeb Bush gets the message out there, and we'll do a better job in the Senate. I think we should run, and he will going to win.

    December 3, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. NIKI


    December 3, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. shucks

    Florida and Texas like their Bushes. Jeb is the one who should have run in 2000. At least he would be coherent.

    December 3, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. concerned

    The only thing Jeb needs to run for is out of the country...

    December 3, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Lou in Miami


    He's knows he's got name recognition.... oh yes; he is the brother of the man that destroyed our country's wealth, respect and standing in the world... we remember...

    December 3, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Bush...Clinton...Bush....Clinton..........enough already!

    December 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Jon in SC

    Let's have a constitutional amendment that the only office a Bush family member can run for is "dog catcher"

    December 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Angel

    Not another thing you know he will be running for president. No No not this nightmare again....Lord please save us

    December 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. clifford

    Palin/Bush 2012

    December 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. D in FL

    Thankfully, all the non-Floridians on this post DON'T get to vote for our senators. Jeb was an excellent governor and would make an excellent US senator.
    (All you folks suffering from Bush Derangement Disorder should seek treatment!)

    December 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. Johnny5bears

    Go Jeb. We know Barbara had an affair on George Sr. Cause he is the only good bush, nothing like the rest of them. As a democrat, I voted for him to be my governor twice, and would proudly do so if he runs to represent our great state in the U.S. Senate.

    December 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Chuck

    Hey Jeb,

    Take a rest - the people will never trust another Bush again ever!

    December 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. karen-phoenix

    NO more Bushes and NO Palin!!!! Jeb was probably the best of the Bush's but his time is past!!!! WE NEED FUTURE, NOT FALIURES!

    December 3, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Bill Denton, TX

    It is hilarious to watch Democrats think that everyone else hates the Bush family as badly as they do. Believe it or not, six months from now – when Obama actually has to make decisions that offend people who voted for him – his popularity will sink since it is all based on his ability to campaign anyway (the man has NO demonstrated record of management at all). And Paul Begala is a Democrat – if he really thinks the Bush brand is as dead as he says, he should be screaming at Bush to go for it – but he knows that the Bushes can raise money and winning ONE state is a lot easier than winning all of them.

    December 3, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. Jerry

    Can the Bushes please take a vacation to Siberia and never come back?

    December 3, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Mike virnoche

    Just what the country needs....another Bush.
    The guy should get a real day job.

    December 3, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Lynne

    Nice. Just when you thought it was safe to stop following politics...Do the people of Florida even like him enough to consider voting for him?

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Spencer/NY to VA

    Jeb must be smoking crack. Does he honestly think Americans are proud of the Bush family name?

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. mike

    hahaha....I love the headline below this....

    "Obama briefed daily on intelligence" hahaha

    Sir you have no intelligence.

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. alreadytiredofit

    God, please spare us from this family!! Bushes – GO AWAY!!

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. David

    Look at these intelligent liberal rants. Jeb was a highly popular two term governor that did alot for the state of Florida. President Bush is not nearly as popular and yet for some reason the uneducated wish to just treat them as one of the same.

    I guess it's just easier to remain uneducated and live off of welfare and get your political ideologies from equally uneducated celebrities.

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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