High Political Drama Afoot: Jeb Bush, Connie Mack to Utah for Weekend with Mitt Romney

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 22, 2012 3:55 AM
Connie Mack, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush

With Republican leaders and donors converging on Park City, Utah, this weekend for a retreat with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, two of the leading figures from the Florida GOP will be on hand -- former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.

While Bush is a dark-horse prospect to wind up on the ticket with Romney, some of the leading contenders for the job -- including Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota -- will be on hand. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose name has also garnered buzz as a possible running mate for Romney, was invited to the event but could not make it due to other obligations.

While Bush has publicly downplayed his chances and pushed Rubio for the vice presidential spot, the former Florida governor remains a possible pick for Romney. On Thursday, pundit Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia listed Bush as a second-tier contender to end up as Romney’s running mate. While noting that Bush has the “wrong last name” and “doesn’t seem to want the job,” Sabato pointed to his “strong gubernatorial resume," ties to Hispanics and his family's political and financial backing as reasons why Bush could end up on the ticket.

Mack, who is a heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, has been a longtime Romney supporter, endorsing the former Massachusetts governor early in the 2012 campaign cycle. Before his big win in the Florida presidential primary in January, Mack took to the campaign trail to stump across the Sunshine State with Romney.

Romney repaid Mack by endorsing him in the Senate race over Republican rivals, including former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and businessman and retired Army officer Mike McCalister. While LeMieux dropped out of the race and endorsed him earlier in the week, Mack has outdistanced his remaining primary rivals in polls as well as in garnering the support of prominent GOP leaders.

Mack is the only nonincumbent Senate hopeful to be included at the weekend event, which shows that the GOP leadership expects the congressman to emerge in the August primary as Nelson’s opponent.

A source familiar with both the Romney and Mack campaigns in Florida informed Sunshine State News on Thursday that the congressman’s inclusion at the weekend retreat was “very significant."

“Expect a very synergized Florida campaign between Mack and Romney,” the source informed Sunshine State News.

Besides donors and politicians, a series of political strategists and conservative commentators is scheduled to appear at the weekend event. Karl Rove will address guests at the event and there will be other Bush hands -- including former U.S. Secretary of State Jim Baker and former Gov. Jon Sununu -- in attendance. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Bill Kristol, the editor of the influential Weekly Standard, are also scheduled to attend.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


Comments (6)

Jeff Willis
7:42AM JUN 23RD 2012
Marco Rubio brings all of the intangibles to the ticket that Romney lacks!
Many may read into his absense as a sign that he is not on the short list. I disagree. Marco is a husband, father and a devoted family man. He obviously decided to put first things first. Bush has spoken. His endorsement of Rubio for VP should be enough for Mitt Romney. Especially when evaluating the remaining options! In the end, it will come down to "who" will bring in the most electoral college votes.
Case closed...
10:19PM JUN 22ND 2012
Connie Mack is a RINO, Marco Rubio is not a natural born citizen, Bobby Jindal is not a natural born citizen, (Rubio and Jindal's parents were not citizens when either of them were born) The country has too many people who blame Bush , which means Jeb is not a wise choice. Pawlenty is boring, Portman is boring, Thune is boring. The only two that I think have a chance of helping him get votes are Condi Rice and Paul Ryan. However,neither of them will help him much in Florida. His best bet would be Representative Allen West in FL. He is ex-military, Floridian, and Black. And he conservative and he is dynamic. He would draw in most Floridans . . .
I don't know what Romney is thinking, but he's not making such good choices in my opinion. Surely he realizes by now that the strong conservatives do not support him . .why is he looking at so many moderates ???!!!
9:00AM JUN 24TH 2012
Oh, I would whole heartedly support Romney's choice of Allen West as his running mate. Allen West has even indicated he'd accept.

That would make the selection of Sarah Palin almost cerebral by comparison.

Unfortunately, Romney's not that dumb - that'd make Obama's 2nd term a certainty.
Jeff Willis
7:46AM JUN 23RD 2012
This 1875 SCOTUS case has side tracked some people. But, we must look at history. This court also upheld women's denial of suffrage. Read the 14th amendment! There is nothing in it that relates to this 1875 SCOTUS case. This court carrries about as much credibility as the 1857 Taney Court which rendered the Dred Scott decision!

We need to get past this "birther" nonsense!
diane vitale
11:37AM JUN 22ND 2012
I'm not hateful towards George W as Harold is. He truly loves American and wanted the best for it. The current demon is more than dangerous. Jeb, however should NOT be chosen as running mate because of the name and a few other items. Rubio is the best!!!
Harold H. Heeley
7:25AM JUN 22ND 2012
If Romney chooses Jeb Bush as his VP, he will assure his demiise in November! Please fellow republicans' get off the Jeb bandwagon, people have had a gracious plenty of the Bush family. Just look where the country was when George W, left office. He will go down in history as one of rhe worst President's to serve!

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