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Politics

George P. Bush Launches Next Generation of Political Dynasty

March 5, 2014 - 6:00pm

Attorney George P. Bush, son of former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., and the namesake nephew and grandson of former presidents, successfully launched the next generation of one of the most prominent political dynasties in American history this week when he won the Republican state land-use commissioner primary.

Bush easily bested David Watts, a businessman and pastor, in Tuesdays primary, running off with 73 percent of the vote. In the solidly Republican Lone Star State, Bush starts off as the favorite in the general election, though Democrats have a respectable candidate in former Mayor John Cook of El Paso. Libertarian Steven Childs and Green Party candidate Ulises Cabrera are also in the mix.

But as the scion of the Bush dynasty, the new nominee is already getting national attention. Bush is certainly fanning the flames by taking to the national stage. For example, the Republican Leadership Conference will be hosting a national event in New Orleans in May. National leaders and possible presidential candidates like businessman Herman Cain, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and businessman Donald Trump will be speaking at the conference. But so will Bush as he makes his national bow.

After George W. Bushs presidency, the future of the familys political success is in doubt. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Thursday throws cold water on former Gov. Jeb Bushs, R-Fla., presidential prospects in 2016 as his brothers eight years in the White House are holding him down. The new poll shows 48 percent of Americans say they definitely would not vote for Bush in 2016. Only former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., generates more opposition with 49 percent saying they will not vote for him. Only 6 percent said they would definitely vote for Bush while 38 percent said they would consider voting for him.

None of the possible Republican presidential hopefuls are running as strongly as another beneficiary of a political legacy, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A quarter of those surveyed -- 25 percent -- say they would definitely vote for her in 2016, while 41 percent would consider it and 32 percent say they definitely would not. Only Romney from the Republican ranks breaks double digits, with 12 percent saying they would definitely vote for him.

The poll of 1,002 American adults was taken from Feb. 27-March 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

Still, the next generation of the Bush family has some clear advantages besides their names. Just like their father and uncle, George P. Bush and his brother Jeb Bush Jr. are staking out growing states in the Sun Belt. While his brother continues the family legacy in Texas, Jeb Bush Jr. has become active in Republican politics in Florida and across the nation with his efforts at MavPAC. Jeb Bush Jr.s name surfaced as a possible candidate against U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in 2014 but he chose not to run. With a mother from Mexico, the latest generation of the Bush family hopes to garner support from Americas growing Hispanic population.

The Bush dynasty certainly is different than most political families in American history. Other families -- the Adamses and the Roosevelts -- have produced two presidents of course, but they were generally limited in terms of geography. The Adamses simply never played well outside of Massachusetts. Both of the Roosevelts were based out of New York, though FDRs son James was active in California politics, serving a decade in Congress and running without success against Gov. Earl Warren, R-Calif., and for mayor of Los Angeles. Despite success in several states, the Kennedys produced only one president (though U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., was in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination when he was assassinated in 1968). Other families -- the Byrds, the Doles, the Gores, the Pauls, the Romneys and the Rockefellers, for instance -- have won elections in several states but never won the White House. The closest thing to the Bush family in American history is the Harrison family. While neither William Henry Harrison nor Benjamin Harrison is held up as a good president, the family held offices in Virginia, Ohio and Indiana for more than a century.

Regardless of their familys future presidential prospects, its clear that the next generation of the Bush dynasty has arrived and all signs indicate that George P. Bush and Jeb Bush Jr. want to play at the national level.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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