Despite other contenders placing their bets there, former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., is putting his chips on New Hampshire, a state where his family has had mixed results over the years.
New Hampshire has given the Bush family some big wins but also some major losses. Claiming a “big mo” after winning the Iowa caucus in 1980, George H.W. Bush came crashing down in New Hampshire after the infamous Nashua Telegraph debate when Ronald Reagan’s “I paid for this microphone line” became established in political lore.
After placing third in Iowa in 1988, George Bush was in trouble against then-U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., in New Hampshire. and needed a big win in the Granite State But with the help of Gov. John Sununu, R-N.H., and Dole refusing to sign a pledge promising to oppose tax increases, Bush bounced back and went on to win the Republican nomination and the presidency.
But 1992 was a different story. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan came up short against Bush but did well enough in the primary to embarrass the president while 10 percent of New Hampshire Republicans voted for Democrats like then-Gov. Bill Clinton, R-Ark., and former U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas, D-Mass., who won the Democratic primary that year.
The next member of the Bush dynasty also did not do well in the Granite State. After winning Iowa in 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush, R-Texas, stumbled in New Hampshire, losing to U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in an upset.
Jeb Bush is now focusing on New Hampshire as he tries to get back in the race. He needs to break through somewhere in the early states as his numbers continue to lag. A CNN/ORC poll released on Friday had Bush at 3 percent, far behind businessman Donald Trump who led with 36 percent.
Bush is sounding confident about his chances in New Hampshire. "I believe I'm gonna win New Hampshire, to be honest with you," Bush told the media last week, NBC reported. "I honestly believe it."
But a poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, released last week offered Bush little reason for optimism in New Hampshire. The former Florida governor took only 5 percent, putting him in eighth place. Trump led with 27 percent followed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with 13 percent; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., with 11 percent; Gov. Chris Christie, R-NJ, with 10 percent; Dr. Ben Carson with 9 percent; Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, with 8 percent; and businesswoman Carly Fiorina with 6 percent. Bush was also had the worst numbers of any of the major candidates in New Hampshire where’s he upside down with Granite State Republicans with 45 percent seeing him as unfavorable while 38 percent view him in a favorable light.
PPP insisted Christie and Cruz were starting to pick up steam in New Hampshire and that doesn’t help Bush.
“Jeb Bush and John Kasich...might be the victims of Christie's renewed strength,” PPP noted. “Bush has dropped from 5th place at 9 percent last month down now to 8th place at 5 percent this month. He continues to really struggle with GOP voters just flat not liking him."
Bush’s team is trying to turn that image around in New Hampshire. The New York Times reported that Right to Rise, a Super PAC tied to Bush, is ready to go with a 15 minute documentary on the former Florida governor which is going to air repeatedly on the New England Sports Network.
“The documentary, which includes interviews with Mr. Bush and his wife, Columba, will talk about Mr. Bush’s record as the governor of Florida, as well as describe his vision for the future, including his plans to defeat the Islamic State and overhaul the federal government,” the Times reported.
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