Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced Monday that he is running for president. Here are five key facts about his campaign.
1. The election of a third Bush would be an unprecedented feat for an American political dynasty.
Other than John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, only the Bush dynasty has sent two people to the oval office. A third Bush in the White House would be historically unprecedented. Indeed, it does seem as though some Republican insiders are worried that Jeb Bush's family history could turn off conservative voters who are looking for a fresh face as their standard bearer against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
A Bush vs. Clinton general election matchup would be interesting in that both candidates would be related to former presidents. In fact, the exact same matchup of names took place in 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush to win the White House.
2. He has been running for months.
Everyone has known for quite some time now that Jeb Bush is running for president. As a matter of fact, he was the candidate that kick started the presidential campaign cycle by announcing in December of 2014 that he was "actively exploring the possibility of running for president". Bush's official announcement Monday comes several months after most political observers figured he wasn't just campaigning in early primary states and raising oodles of cash for nothing. Speaking of cash...
3. He is going to raise a ton of cash.
One of Bush's biggest strengths as a candidate is going to be his fundraising prowess. The political connections afforded by having both a brother and a father as former presidents gain him access to many high end Republican donors and campaign operatives.
Jeb is also considered an establishment candidate, which gives him access to big donors who are looking for a candidate who can actually win. Fringe candidates who plan to rely on evangelical and tea-party voters like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, don't necessarily get the same access to these donors since they are not seen as credible candidates in the general election.
4. He is a credible candidate but by no means an overwhelming frontrunner.
The general consensus seems to be that Republican donors and other political insiders consider Bush to be one of three leading contenders in a field that currently contains 11 Republican candidates and is likely to grow to about 15 in total by the end of the summer. The other two candidates thought to be leading the pack are Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Currently, Walker edges Bush in the polls for the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses and Rubio has seen a steady rise in his national profile since launching his own presidential bid in April. Further complicating Bush's path to the nomination is the fact that he and Rubio both hail from the politically influential state of Florida.
Florida is typically one of the first 5 states to hold their presidential primaries and the winner in 2016 will take all of the state's many Republican convention delegates, which are needed to secure the nomination. Ultimately, either Rubio or Bush will lose their home state and whoever comes out on top will likely get a huge boost as the other drops out. Bush is certainly considered a strong contender but his star has faded a bit during the invisible primary phase of the cycle.
5. He has already made some gaffes.
At this early stage, Bush's performance as a candidate has been far from perfect. A number of small gaffes have dogged him since he all but announced his intention to run back in 2014. His largest gaffe by far has been comments he made in regard to his brother's handling of the war in Iraq and his own views on one of the nation's most divisive conflicts.
Bush's stance on the 2003 invasion of Iraq was made unclear after he made bullish comments which seemed at first to be in defense of the invasion but later walked them back. One of Bush's greatest challenges will be distancing himself from his unpopular brother. Whether or not Bush can accomplish this, despite the fact that he undoubtedly loves and respects his family, will unfold over the next few months.
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