Jeb Bush Helps Out Tea Party Champion Paul LePage in Maine

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: June 20, 2013 10:15 AM

Paul LePage and Jeb Bush

As the battle for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination starts to shape up, the conventional wisdom dictates the GOP establishment and moderates will square off against conservatives and the tea party to determine who the candidate will be.

With his shots at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and support of immigration reform, former Gov. Jeb Bush is squarely in the camp of the establishment, but that isn’t stopping him from helping a tea party champion in major jeopardy of losing in 2014.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s team announced Wednesday that Bush would host a fundraiser for their candidate. Bush will be the headliner at a fundraising event for LePage in Kennebunkport, home of the Bush family compound at Walker’s Point, on July 2. It’s a high-end event, with LePage’s team asking for $2,000 per individual and $3,000 per couple to attend a private event with Bush and get photos taken with the former Florida governor. Expect to see more than a few Downeasters in Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines at the event.

Bush won’t be the only establishment GOP figure at the event, as Maine Republicans try to rally behind their beleaguered governor. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, two of the leading Republican moderates in Washington in recent years, will be at the event. So will two Republicans who lost out to LePage in the 2010 primary: businessman Les Otten and former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.

Polls show LePage is not popular and he can expect a tough battle in 2014 for a second term. Eliot Cutler, who lost to LePage by less than 2 percent in 2010, is back looking to make an independent gubernatorial bid. A strong crop of Maine Democrats, including former Gov. John Baldacci, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and former federal Small Business Administration Director Karen Mills, are also looking at running against LePage in 2014.

Bush’s support will certainly help the governor raise funds for next year. But Florida's former chief executive also profits from helping LePage. By helping a favorite of the tea party movement, Bush can defuse some of the opposition he has encountered from those Republican voters unimpressed with his pedigree and support for immigration reform.

Bush also could have learned a lesson his father and brother learned the hard way. Across the border from Maine is New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary. With the backing of then-Gov. John Sununu, New Hampshire was a bastion of support for George H.W. Bush in 1988, giving him a much-needed victory over Bob Dole. But, in the White House, President Bush ignored New Hampshire to his own peril and, in 1992, Pat Buchanan embarrassed the incumbent with a strong showing in the Republican primary. Despite relying on Sununu support in 2000, George W. Bush was upended in New Hampshire by John McCain.

If Jeb Bush enters the 2016 presidential election, he will need to do well in New Hampshire and win over conservatives in that pivotal state. Supporting Maine's tea party governor who will face a close election could pay political dividends for the third Bush to jump into New Hampshire, this time in 2016.

Tallahassee freelance political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (5)

Leigh Cote'
11:42AM AUG 10TH 2013
Hello, To whom it mat concern, Letter of Secretary to Minister Adams, May 21,1861. Speaking of the spirit of the English people with respect to commerce. Montesquieu said;-- Supremelu jealous with respect to trade, they blind themselves but little by treaties, and depend only on their own laws. Other nations have made the interests of commerce yield to those of politics; the English, on the country, have ever made their political interests give way to those commerce."-- Spirit of the laws, fifth English edition. The agents of the conspirators offered to the government of Europe, as bribe for recognition, free trade; and as the National Government had just imposed a heavy tariff on many foreign products, that offer had a great force. Their boasting and their sophisms so far blinded the foreign traders and statesmen, that they actually regarded the commerce with the Cotton--growing States as of more valne to them than that of all the rest of the Union. Even the usually well-informed London Economist, after stating that the "population of the seceding States is eight millions," said, that England, in her consideration of rebellion, must look upon that portion of the United States as" furnishing an ample market for her manufactuured goods." At that very time, the proof was abundant, that of the little more than nine millions of inhabitants in those states, nearly one-half of them did not consume British goods to the amount of half a million of dollars annually. These included the slaves and the poor and laboring white people, called by the Oligarchy "white trash". These two classes, who were the most numerous in the population of the States alluded to, were chiefly clad throughout the year in coarse domestic goods, and did not in reality consume forelgn goods, of any and all kinds, to the extent of twenty-five cents a head. Of the bulk of the white population in those States, two-thirds of them wore no foreign goods whatever. The Northern and Westrn States were the main consumers of British goods. The total white population of the "seceding" States at that time was only about five million two hundred and thirty-one thousand, and of the "non-seceding" States, twenty- two millions two hundred and forty-five thousand. When we consider that, during the ten years proceding the rebellion, the United States was the market for about one-fith of the total exports of British goods to all foreign countries, and that the inhabitants of the Free-labor States, who were loyal to the Government. Thank you. "GOD BLESS AMERICA."
Leigh Cote'
5:37PM JUL 31ST 2013
Hello, Jeb Busch can retire home, ASAP and leave the STATE of Maine alone. " it has declared by ordinance that hte people of Texas ratify the constitution of the provisional government of the Confederate States, and has changed the State Constitution and established a test oath of allegiance to the Confederate States, requiring all persons now in office to take the same, or suffer the penalty of removal from office: and, actuated by a spirit of petty tyranny, has required the executive, and a portion of the other officers at the seat of government to appear at its bar at a certain hour and take the same. " It has assumed to create organic laws, and to put the same in execution. It has overthrown the theory of free government, by combining in itself all the departments of government, and exercising the powers belonging to each. Our Farthers have taught us that freedom requires that these powers shall not be all lodged in, and exercised by, one body. Whenever it is so, the people suffer under a despotism. Thank you, "GOD BLESS AMERICA."
8:17AM JUN 24TH 2013
Jeb and Mac Stipanovich created the Florida Republican Griftocracy so it figures he would be all in with another Republican grifter.
Linda Farwell
6:35AM JUN 21ST 2013
Dear Mr. Bush,

Please withdraw your support for Mr. Lepage. His recent disgraceful remarks along with an entire list of same, and his irrational and disrespectful behavior are not worthy of the Bush name.
1:07PM JUN 20TH 2013
Ah, yes . . . Jeb Bush cavorting with a Tea Partier who has:

- Hired his own daughter for work in his Chief of Staff's Office

- Hired his brother-in-law as a Director in the State Planning Office

- A wife with legal residency (homestead) in Florida (wonder where she votes)

- Told the NAACP that they " . . can kiss my butt" over requested MLK day attendance

- Removed a large Maine artist painted mural depicting the history of the state's labor movement, including "Rosie the Riveter", from the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor offices, and renamed the Maine Labor Department's conference rooms named after American labor pioneers like Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member in American history and whose parents were natives of Maine, because they are "not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals" . . .

- Generically declared all state middle managers to be as "corrupt as you can be" . . . to which a Maine REPUBLICAN Senator responded "For our governor to question their integrity, to essentially call them morally depraved -- look it up -- is demeaning and inexcusable", going on to say that the comment was "not worthy of the chief executive"

- In 2012, labeled the IRS, in its Congressionally approved role in the Affordable Care Act, as "the new Gestapo" . . . when asked by a reporter if he knew what the Gestapo did, LePage said that he knew they "killed a lot of people" and that he thought the IRS, while not there yet, was headed towards killing many people as well . . .

- Proposed zoning 10 million acres of northern Maine (think of as Maine's Adirondacks, includes the North Woods) for development

- Proposed repealing recycling laws and attacked the Maine Board of Environmental Protection for banning a hormone disruptor because "the worst case is some women may have little beards" . . .

- Supported shallow-water offshore drilling in Maine waters (home of the American lobster industry)

- Indicated he supports the teaching of creationism in public schools (who cares if it's unconstitutional) . . . .

Yes, Jeb Bush . . . strongly holding to his principles, as shown through his support for Tea Party right wingers who must share his beliefs, correct . . . . .

Pathetic . . .

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