Jeb Bush Continues to Shape the GOP in Florida
Around the State
As was shown by his endorsement of Carlos Curbelo on Monday, Jeb Bush is starting to throw his weight around in Republican primaries across Florida.
Even as he has drawn fire from conservatives on Common Core and for supporting immigration reform, Bush remains one of the most popular Republicans from the Sunshine State. Bush has also shown no hesitation in using his position to shape the GOP in Florida and support candidates he favors.
Bush’s endorsement of Curbelo is a bit of a deviation from this pattern. Republicans have high hopes for Curbelo to take down Joe Garcia in November and the Miami-Dade County School Board member is the clear favorite to win the GOP’s nomination. But, even though he is a strong favorite, Curbelo does have a primary with respectable foes like Ed MacDougall, Joe Martinez and Larry Palomares-Starbuck. Bush’s support only adds to Curbelo’s lead as the GOP looks to avoid a brutal primary and focus all its efforts on defeating Garcia.
But that’s not the only contested Republican primary Bush has waded into. Unlike Garcia, in his new comfortably Democratic district, Alan Grayson appears pretty safe for November. That hasn’t stopped Bush from endorsing Carol Platt over Republican rivals Jorge Bonilla and Peter Vivaldi as they fight in the primary over who challenges Grayson come November. It’s tough to characterize Platt as a favorite either over Grayson or her primary opponents. But Bush endorsed her pretty early in the process, anyway.
More than seven years after he left Tallahassee, Bush shows no signs of going away. He promised to “actively” support Scott in this campaign and has thrown a few barbs at Charlie Crist already in the campaign. Of course, Bush also continues to remain a presidential possibility for Republicans come 2016 and has given hints that he’ll make an announcement one way or another about his presidential plans this year.
As he continues to ponder whether to follow in father’s and brother’s footsteps with a presidential campaign, Bush remains active at the national level. On Monday, he gave a speech in Long Island which often backs Republican candidates with their votes and checkbooks even as New York remains deeply blue. But even as he tests the national waters, Bush continues to remain a major player for Republicans in Florida, as his support of Curbelo shows.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News.