No One Saw this Coming

Jeb Bush is going to actively explore a run for the White House.  I wonder what he’ll find?  Maybe diamonds, gold, a lost civilization, or a many rich, older,white guys who are really pumped to have yet ANOTHER Bush in the White House.

Hard to say isn’t it.

This does have HUGE implications on the race.  First, Chris Christie is no longer the favorite to win the backing of Bush Republicans (what some call the Establishment).  Bush will have instant access to their money and support, which Christie was banking on for a run. Second, Marco Rubio will feel the squeeze.  Although his star was already on the decline having Bush in the race means many Florida people will be torn between the two and probably go with the elder over the Senator.

Third, Democrats can no longer assume 2016 will be a slam dunk.  If Bush is the nominee he will be a tough opponent.  He puts Florida, Colorado and Nevada back in play and takes away the chance for the Democrats to take Arizona or North Carolina.

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If His Brother Can Do it Why Not

It may not be the most inspiring slogan, but Jeb Bush is probably hoping most people are thinking that.  The former Florida Governor and son/brother of President is giving all the signals that he’s going to run in 2016.  I’ve thought and posted that he wouldn’t do it for a number of reasons.  Turns out I might be wrong.  Given his name ID, obvious support among the Bush wing of the GOP, and ability to compete in Florida in a general election, Bush would be a strong candidate.

However, he has some big obstacles to overcome.  First, it’s not like the last President Bush was all that popular at the end of his second term.  In a general election that will definitely be a factor.  Second, he goes against the CPAC crowd on issues including immigration reform and Common Core education standards.  Third, it’s not he is a fresh face and is a little rusty, considering he hasn’t run for anything since 2002 (that’s 12 years kids).

If Bush does just in, if only because of name ID, he’ll jump to the top of the polls.  Can he stay there?

The Suspense Is Killing Me, Well Maybe Not

Marco Rubio has said he’ll make a decision about whether to run for President and announce it in a few weeks.  The January announcement is a coin flip.

Let’s remember that under Florida law Rubio can’t be on the ballot for President and Senate.  While he can back out of the Presidential race and run for Senate up to winter 2016, given that Florida is a swing state and the Democrats will try to get a top-tier challenger either way (i.e. NOT Debbie Wasserman Schultz) and he might face primary challenge, Rubio really can’t have it both ways for too long.

So what will he do? Two years ago this was a no-brainer.  Rubio was seen as the party’s future, dubbed the “RJ III of American Politics” by GOP pollster Whit Ayers, and riding high in the polls.  Since his support for immigration reform, and then trying flip flop against it, Rubio’s standing in the polls with primary voters has dropped.  If he does run Rubio will start in the middle of the pack behind Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush.  He’s kind of in political no-man’s land.  Rubio is not the favorite of the Bush Republicans nor is he the darling of the Tea Party.

As I mentioned, it’s not a slam dunk that Rubio will get re-elected if he focuses only on the Senate.  In a presidential year, without a Tea Party wave, higher turnout and top-notch challenger, Rubio could lose.  Some polls show his unfavorable rating has risen.

But what if Rubio doesn’t run for the White House in 2016?  Might he miss his one chance?  If the GOP wins in 2016 and Rubio is re-elected, the Senator will have to wait until 2024 to run again.  In politics 9 years is a lifetime and Rubio will no longer be the fresh face (9 more years in the Senate takes away that newness) and will have to go through another re-election fight in 2022.

Of course if Rubio runs for the White House and doesn’t win that’ll likely be the end of his political career.  Decisions, decisions for Rubio.  The suspense isn’t killing me but it might be doing a number of the Florida Senator.

Mitt’s Not It

A new poll of Republicans in New Hampshire is being used to show Mitt Romney isn’t exactly setting their hearts a flutter. However the fact that Romney gets 6% while being lumped in with the someone else category is not the real news. If you look at the results below it is pretty wide open:

2014-07-31-GOP2016PrimaryPoll

Pretty wide open to say the lease

No one is really running away with it. Rand Pauls’ got 14% and that only leads non-candidate Jeb Bush by 2 points and fellow non-candidate Paul Ryan by 3.  No one is out of who is listed because at this point a ten point lead is worthless. 

It looks like we are in for a real dog fight, whether Willard Romney is in the race or not. 

Keystone Polling

Public Policy Polling has given us some Pennsylvania numbers.  Here is how the Republican race shapes up right now:

  • Christie at 26%
  • Ted Cruz on 16%
  • Rand Paul at 14%
  • Jeb Bush on 10%
  • Rick Santorum at 8%
  • Marco Rubio with 6%
  • Paul Ryan on 5%
  • Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker at 3%

It is no surprise that Christie is in the lead.  He’s from a neighboring state and is just coming off some great coverage for a big reelection win.  However he is losing self-identified ‘very conservative’ voters, pulling in 11% compared to 23% for Cruz and Paul’s 19%.  Where Christie gets his lead, according to the poll, is from moderates where he swamps Paul and Cruz 45 to 10 and 5 respectively.

This also shows that Cruz can have pull with Republicans across the country.  Given that Cruz has been in the Senate for about 15 minutes the fact that he is out polling much more established figures like Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan shows that his message, and how he delivers it, has some real resonance with Republican voters.

For Rick Santorum these numbers are a reminder of how far he has fallen.  Remember Santorum represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 12 years and can only pull in 8% among Pennsylvania Republicans.

It will be interesting to see where Pennsylvania goes in the process.  If it is an early state that would certainly help Christie and give him a chance to bounce back if he hits any bumps in the road in say South Carolina.

Hitting the Road with Jeb

Jeb Bush is taking his show on the road. He has been to New York City and Wisconsin talking Obamacare and other issues.  Is this the signal that Bush is a serious candidate for 2016?

I still have my doubts.

If he did run he would start off as the party establishment’s first choice.  But there are things that could be real road blocks to me.  First, he is a big supporter of immigration reform.  You can ask Marco Rubio how well that helps you on the polls.

Second, he is for Common Core.  This sleeper issue is something that is firing up the opposition of groups like FreedomWorks.  Conservatives like Mike Pence have been fighting against it as well.  So it will be brought up.

Lastly, there still might be some Bush fatigue.  It’s not like his brother left on a high note.

Whatever decision Bush makes you can bet it will shake up the 2016 race.