Tags: Jeb Bush | GOP | 2016 nomination

Jeb Bush Nomination Not Inevitable to Many Republicans

By    |   Sunday, 05 April 2015 10:07 AM

Earlier this year, Jeb Bush was making all the appearances of being the candidate to beat for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but many in the Republican party aren't circling around him as expected, and his massive war chest may not be enough to push away other contenders.

The former Florida governor, who would be the third member of his family to win the White House if he prevails, is already facing challenges from evangelicals and pro-Israel factions in the party, reports The New York Times.

Further, grassroots activists in the early primary states are already fighting against him, even though he has yet to declare his candidacy, and there are still many Republican bundlers who are remaining uncommitted, and are not happy that Bush's camp already thinks they'll back him, The Times reported earlier this year

Wealthy donors are also starting to hedge their bets. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, for example, was reportedly not happy after former Secretary of State James Baker III one of Bush's advisers, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March.

Bush's older brother, George W. Bush, was able to secure support for his 2000 presidential nomination earlier, The Times reports, but this time around, "there hasn’t been a coalescing around him like there was for his brother in 1998 and 1999,” said Ed Martin, leader of the Missouri Republican Party until February and is now president of the Eagle Forum, the conservative group founded by Phyllis Schlafly.

“I just don’t have a sense among big donors and Republican leaders that this is Jeb’s to lose," he continued.

But Bush has been slow to deliver major policy speeches, which has potential supporters concerned that he will not spend time attracting voters outside his usual supporters.

“The smart money is taking it slower and waiting to see who runs and how these candidates develop a platform,” Scott Reed, the top political adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told The Times. “Raising money is an important part of the game. But it’s not the whole game.”

And Bush still has nearly a year before the first primary votes, and Republicans have still not unified behind any other candidates.

Late last month, a CBS News poll showed a massive jump for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, with 37 percent of those surveyed said that they would consider voting for Cruz in March, up 14 points from when the same question was asked a month ago.

By comparison, 51 percent said they would vote for Bush, just two percent higher than did in February.

Bush's advisers are quick to say that he never thought he'd win the nomination with no competition, and that because he isn't bending his more moderate views, he's running a new kind of campaign.

“As Governor Bush considers the possibility of a run, he’s working hard to earn the support of people throughout the party and deliver a positive message about how conservative reforms can restore opportunity and prosperity for more Americans,” Bush spokesperson Kristy Campbell said.

Polls, though, show that he is not performing much better against a potential campaign against former Secretary of State than either Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul would, and there are some who wonder if they should be expected to vote for him because of his family connections.

Further, some of the nation's largest donors appear to still be shopping around for a candidate. New Yorker John Catsimatidis recently contributed $50,000 to a super PAC that backs Bush, but has also contributed to Walker.

Others say that it's too early to back just one candidate, and that Bush should not take it for granted that they will support him.

“I don’t subscribe to ‘shock and awe,’ ” said John Rakolta Jr., a Michigan construction executive and former top fund-raiser for one-time GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “I don’t think it’s a constructive strategy.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a presidential candidate in 2012, told The Times that Bush's campaign is hitting speed bumps, but he believes Bush will start to define himself as more than being the latest family member seeking office.

“He’s going to have to stake out his claim here,” Pawlenty said. “And the sooner the better.”

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Earlier this year, Jeb Bush was making all the appearances of being the candidate to beat for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but many in the Republican party aren't circling around him as expected.
Jeb Bush, GOP, 2016 nomination
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2015-07-05
Sunday, 05 April 2015 10:07 AM
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