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. Jill American

    Martinez did what he was supposed to do .. get 'W' elected ... then he steps down for Jeb. All part of the deal.

    December 3, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Liberal and Proud of It

    While Jeb Bush is definitely the smart Bush brother, the country certainly doesn't need more Conservatives. Conservatism has tried its best to destroy this nation, and Jeb would only do more harm than good. American Conservatism started by defending slavery and opposing its abolition. Since then, Conservatism has opposed equal rights for minorites and women, equal pay for minorities and women, the right of women to wear pants(!!!), workplace safety regulations, child health programs, free public education, the 8 hour day, the 40 hour week, overtime pay, affordable day care, and religious freedom.

    Now, after bankrupting the country with the huge Reagan deficits, the enormous Bush 1 deficits, and the unprecedented and jaw-dropping, heart-stopping Bush 2 deficits, they have the nerve to talk about fiscal responsibility.

    Conservatism led us into the war in Iraq – the only war in history that accomplished no military goals and created only collateral damage. The only successes we've had in Iraq have been where we repaired the damage we did earlier.

    Conservatism is on the ropes. It is the duty of all patriots to to knock it down and stomp on it until it is dead.

    December 3, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Mike

    Please God, not another Bush! Two is enough. The country needs to recover.

    December 3, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Bill

    We really need for him to stay out of government for the good of the country.

    December 3, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. 60 year old white catholic woman for obama

    OMG you have got to be kidding me, not another bushie. please we surrender, no more!! the bush's have brought this on themselves. first the father with his ignorance of the american economy in the late 80's early 90's and the irag war for what?? kuwait?? no for OIL!!! then the idiot son from texas. look what he has done. first he stole the election with the help of his brother, jeb, then he wrecks havoc on the usa and the world. now another one wants his chance, please god NOOOOOO.

    December 3, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Auren Manners

    Bush me once, Shame on you.... Bush me twice, Shame on me.

    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. JB

    Dear God. Not another uber rich brat in the senate. You know he wouldn't run for the senate without his eye on the White House.

    Eat the rich. Feed the poor.

    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |



    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Larry C. Houston, Texas

    "BUSH" means 2 things :

    First Bush : WAR (operation Desert Storm)
    2nd Bush : WAR ( IRAQ) + Recession = No Jobs = money not worth anything...

    Larry C
    Houston Tx.

    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. thanks, but no thanks

    l have an idea. Why do not we have Florida secede as a state??? that way not the rest of the country suffers. Oops, just keep Miami....

    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Doug-ABQ

    As a former Floridian, I pray to God that he won't be elected. He was a horrible Governor, and, for some reason, his wife doesn't believe in declaring clothing purchases when going through American customs. The family needs to just go away.

    December 3, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Jon, OR

    Jeb or what ever uour name is, please go away. There are quite a lot of roles and positions you can aspire for in stead of politics. You, the =Bushes do noit know that politics and governing is to help the people. Your ideology is always "My Way or the High Way:. Just take a look at your brother. It's in the gene and Jeb is no different. If any body thinks Jeb will be different, the 200 Florida debacle shoud serve a reminder.

    No Jeb! No Bushes!! No 20012!!! Not any more.

    December 3, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Patsy Madison, TN

    I feel that the country can not take another Bush. They are all alike. They are self-serving, and they do not care about anyone but the family fortune. The people of Florida must do a deep check into the background of Jeb, his wife, his children and the family as a whole. Please help us if we have to have another Bush in Washington or the White House. This is as scary as having the republicaans control all of Tennessee.

    December 3, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. rick

    the Bushes and while I am at Sarah Palin.. GO AWAY! get off my TV.. your 15 minutes are up.

    December 3, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    This is really a frightening thought. Although the propaganda bespeaks his accomplishments in Florida. His crony-outsourcing of state services including education and human services–has led to system-wide failure in southern counties of Florida, particularly with the Dept. of Corrections, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Children and Families, and Dept. of Education.
    Touted as "cost saving action"–the program budgets have continued to grow–while the services available/received by those who need continues to decline annually. No cost savings–a decline in quantiy and quality of services.

    Now: Florida ranks near the bottom of every state in the country in these critical areas of public services.

    We really don't want him in Washington screwing things up on a national scale!!

    December 3, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. RGB in MN

    TYpical post-election liberal BS.

    Bush for Senate!
    Rmember that 1.2 million people here in MN voted for comedian. Now, THAT'S a joke.

    December 3, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. Luis

    it has nothing to do with liberal haters or deals with common sense and smarts...besides Jeb Bush was way too involved in the certification of the 2000 of the general election. He was corrupt then...and is not something he is going to be able to shake. The first George Bush Sr.'s term ended up in a recesion, the second George W, also ended up in a recesion.....when are we going to learn our lesson. This guys (if it was not for their money that Grandpa made) would be selling used cars.

    December 3, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. republicans hate america

    its like a bad fungus you cant get rid of.

    December 3, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Jessica

    I live in Florida and can tell you we do not miss Jeb. He ruined the education system in this state. We do not need another Bush anywhere within a 25 mile radius near Washington D.C after January. Wake up people we actually have a shot at making our country likeable in the world again. Why risk it by having another Bush in Washington??

    December 3, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Colby

    The younger Bush sibling is a self-described take-charge politician and on the surface, appears more capable then his more highly un-popular older brother. If he attempts to run for the senate in Florida I'm not sure he could sustain the same popular momentum he had while governor of that state. Even if he ran under a different last name he is forever relegated to the position of "younger Bush" with more capability. I'm not sure the people of Florida want to see a 'smart Bush' at any leadership position.

    December 3, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Sickof them

    Please keep this Bush, and every other Bush as far away from Washington as possible.

    Haven't they done enough damage?

    December 3, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. AA

    By getting Jeb in the senate we have eliminated him for president.
    Now all we have to do is eliminate Mitt Romney and the gruesome twosome of the republican party will be forever banned from the presidency. Sleazy men!

    December 3, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. carmen Tam

    I don't believe J. Bush needs to change his name to run for the Senate.
    It would have applied to H. Clinton as well, and she did not do it.
    Each person has their own personality and can't be judge by what former family members' performance.
    I am a Canadian, Cuban born, and do not feel that G.W.Bush acted in bad faith. Many of the situations he found himself in were coming from previous Democrats leaders, and he had to act strongly after the 911 event. Overall I think he did well, but results are not always what we hope for. Let's see what happens next.

    December 3, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. MS from SOFLA

    I have some advice for Mr. Jeb Bush: STOP THE INSANITY!!!!!
    do yourself and your country a favor, please do not humiliate yourself and your family any further, please disappear into the private sector and leave politics alone......enough already......

    December 3, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. david


    December 3, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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