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. William

    First off, Jeb has said he's considering running for Senate, not the White House. I doubt anyone posting on this blog has actual inside information if Jeb would ever run for President.

    I agree with some of the people on this posting that have said he needs to be judged as a separate person. Jeb and W may share the last name, but they are not the same politician. I have been a Florida resident my whole life. I have also been a Democrat, and I do think that Jeb did a great job as Governor.

    Jeb is not W. Let the man run and be judged on his own merits.

    December 3, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Sue T

    Just like the Kennedys, John was president, Robert was close to becoming president, and then Ted tryed and he didn't get with the Bushes, Daddy, then George but Jeb will be doomed just because of his brothers last 8 years..........I don't care what kind of a Governor he was (and he was a good one) but his brother's past will keep him from the White House.

    December 3, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Laura in FL

    Jeb has been the smarter Bush all along (I know that's not saying much, but he's a good political leader who has the intelligence to go along with it)...while the family was grooming a son for the top job in the country, they should have picked this guy...understatement of the century, I know.

    December 3, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Bobby

    I heard Chelsea Clinton is interesting in running....

    December 3, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. A Boston

    America would be stupid to take the Bush name off of the blacklist.

    December 3, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. FLGirl

    Only time will tell what kind of president Bush was. His lasting legacy is of more conern than popularity polls. That said, I think Jeb would do a great job in the Senate. He was very moderate and governed with common sense and dignity. I'm a registered Dem and loved him as gov, and I'd vote for him for senate in a second. You really can't judge him unless you were his constituent.

    December 3, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Alex

    Enough is enough!

    December 3, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Jim Longstreet

    This makes perfect sense, as Florida is in need of a solid fence for shipments from Columbia after the free trade agreement is signed; besides he has Seal experience

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. David Goldman







    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Jayden in FL

    Well if he wins in the 2010 election(which he probably will win because he was a very popular governor).. expect him to run in 2012 for the presidency

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Mike

    Jeb Bush would be a great senator. Better than any of the senators that will comprise the new administration (Obama, Biden & Clinton).

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Beverly, NYC

    Jeb is the smarter Bush. Too bad the family name, his greedy non-duty paying wife and kids ( Mr. breaking and entering and Miss writing her owndrug perscription), in addition to the Catherine Harris mess in 2000 will be enough to isure he does not win a Senate race.

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. SlowGun

    When Neil going to run for something?
    You all remember Neil don't you? He is the son/brother nobody talks about after his scandal in the savings and loan mess when his dad was VP.

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Steve in VA

    He should probably wait for a little while because George W. Bush is so unpopular right now. After the dust settles and the smoke clears, and people start turning on Obama, that disadvantage will be diminished. At that point he would have a clear advantage.

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Cynthia

    I see the liberal haters are out. How much do any of you know about this man and his record. Only because he is a "Bush" is the reason you spew your hate. You have no valid arguements. To question the entire Bush family on their credibility or intergity because you feel W was a horrible president is the liberal hating way. How ridiculous!

    December 3, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Bush and the people of Florida deserve eachother.
    Hopefully the entire State will get washed away with the next big hurricane.

    December 3, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Proud to be American

    No, no, and no..... NO MORE BUSHES IN WASHINGTON! We the people are over the Bushes ..... please stay far, far away from Washington.

    Thank you

    December 3, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. smoothoperator

    Please, no more Bushes, may be in the year 5010...

    December 3, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. James

    I wouldnt let this guy off the leash people, how many times can you be wrong and still find excuses for poor judgement. If he did a good job as Gov. thats fantastic. Keep him there.

    December 3, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Voter

    Oh, please. While Jeb is considered the "brightest" of the Bush boys, as bitter experience has shown, that's not saying much, now, is it?

    December 3, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Randy

    Bush – Never again!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Grandblvd03

    A carbon copy of his brother, except for a better vocabulary and a double chin.

    December 3, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. J.D.

    Don't bother. Your family's name has been tainted, no one wants another Bush in government.

    December 3, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Paul Lucas

    Just what we don't need, another Bush in Washington.

    December 3, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. proudliberal


    December 3, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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