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. Georgia Gal

    Oh boy ... just what we need ... another Bush in Washington. *Rolls eyes*.

    All I ask is just don't let him run for President. I can't stand the idea of another Bush as President and them running this country even further into the ground.

    December 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Another Bush? The GOP is just going to keep going for what doesn't work. I'll bet he runs for President in 2012 and wins the GOP nomination!

    December 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Rob

    Newsflash to the clueless: Bush and his brother are two different guys. Jeb Bush was one of the most successful and popular governors in Florida history. He can't win, why? Because of his last name? Ridiculous. The Democrats have no chance to beat him if he runs, and they know it.

    I like the guy from Ohio that doesn't want him to run. Don't worry, dude. He's not running for Senator from Ohio. He's running from a state when people remember and respect his many accomplishments.

    December 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Jim

    I lived in Florida while JEB was governor and he was a good one. I think he would be a very good Senator. Why would he take advice from Paul Begala unless he wants advice on becoming a crazy left-wing DIMocrat.

    December 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Hawk


    December 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. America will be free again

    TO: Larry, CA, Darko,
    I really thought people learn from history and dont make same mistake over again and expect different result. History gave us W with high ratings as Gov did any of you remember?
    Election 1999 will never forgive Jeb what he did in FL for W, If he his the best of them then America needs to make sure he never gets in, H was bad, W was worse and the best of then will be what?
    The best of the worse?

    December 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. History Repating

    Hey Darko, didn't his brother had the same approval ratings in Tx before he moved up to D.C and then ruined this country, huh.?.

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. LV

    NO!!!! Stop putting spoiled rich kids in the White House.

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Rolling in the Aisles, VA

    Let's all forget about how he threw the election to his brother in FL in 2000, and the ridiculous media circus drummed up around poor Terry Schiavo to incite angry Christians to keep her on life support. Yeah, Jeb's a real leader. Maybe Neil Bush can run too. Why not? No one remembers the Silverado S&L fiasco anymore, or how he walked. How many million dollars did that bailout cost taxpayers??

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Ted van Tol

    Good God. Help us!

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Farnk, Las Vegas

    Oh Please! People of Florida wake up this time. Does this country Really need another Bush in Any elected office? They all have the same failed approach to governing. Haven't you had enough proof? This time, really take a hard long look at him before voting!

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Terry B.

    You gotta be kidding me... who is the Repubs gonna want next? Joe the tax evader?

    December 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Andy H

    NO MORE BUSHES. That family has ruined America. It was Jeb Bush's Gov't that petitioned to stop a recount in Florida in 2000. Father Bush lead us to a horrific recession in the early 1990s and started the first Iraq war. Now George Jnr has started two wars, led us into the worst crisis since The Great Depression & made America the most hated nation in the world. DON'T THEY GET IT WE NEVER WANT TO SEE ANOTHER BUSH IN PUBLIC OFFICE EVER AGAIN.

    December 3, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Spencer/NY to VA

    Well according to the movie "W", Jeb is the favored son.

    December 3, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Leah from FL

    Sorry, thanks but no thanks, Jeb. It's so interesting that education reform was the platform when you were in office and the slide to being 47th out of 50 states began. Yeah, you reformed education alright for FL, I shudder to think what you could 'reform' in the Senate for the US. Yikes!!

    December 3, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. some guy in New Hampshire

    Not all of those colored folks like to tap dance and eat fried chicken and not all Bushes are arrogant, ignorant, and ideologically hidebound. Jeb's name doesn't define his intellect or ability. The question that matters is whether he can be reasonable about the issues or if he's willing to enter intellectual servitude to right-wing party bosses to gain their permission for his candidacy. How he answers that one will say a lot about his character and direction.

    December 3, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Becky

    I dont think that the man who gave us Bush will find friendly territory in these parts anymore....Maybe all Republicans should move to the alaska and secede.

    December 3, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Jeremy

    The Bush Brand is dead......go away

    December 3, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. David

    When will it end????

    December 3, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Sam

    no more rednecks please.

    December 3, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. AEK

    All he has to do is convince the governor to manipulate the vote count for him the way he did for W in 2000 and he's a shoe in!

    December 3, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Felly

    Isn't this the same Jeb Bush who rigged the election in Florida in 2000 to get his brother elected president when Al Gore won the popular vote?

    December 3, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. mj

    No matter how president photo op bush attempts to spin history-bush/cheney the worst admininstration in US history!
    G(reedy)OP voters for bush/cheney, still unable to admit mistake, just like bush.
    If Floridians vote for another bush, they deserve their fate.

    December 3, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    We love the Bushes, but there's too much voodoo boodoo and doodoo with the name. The name just brings really bad luck. Let's rest this name in peace (RIP)

    December 3, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Nick

    No moe Bush. W was enough

    December 3, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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