How should Democrats run against Jeb Bush if he declares for the Senate? listen12/12/08 Mitch E. Perry
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When Mel Martinez announced earlier this month that he would not run for re-election in 2010, several Republicans were said to be interested in running for the GOP nomination, including Bill McCollum, Ginny Brown Waite and Marco Rubio.
But then former Governor Jeb Bush said he might be interested in the seat, and any talk of other Republicans in the race went quiet.
If Bush decides to run, he might not face any opposition in the primary. But would he be unbeatable against any Democrat in the race?
Although there are plenty of talented Democrats in the state who could run for Senate â€“ or Governor for that matter in 2010 â€“ all eyes on are the Democrat who has already won state-wide, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. She has said she is eyeing a Senate run.
Tampa area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor says she has no interest in running for the seat. But she says that there are many issues that Democrats can use against Bush if he does run.
In the past, Jeb Bush has said he wasnâ€™t interested in the Senate because he prefers being an executive over being one of a hundred in a legislative body.
But a Florida Republican strategist, Brett Doster, told the Tampa Tribune on Friday that Bush is inclined to commit to a candidacy in 2010.
Ron Book is a government lobbyist based in South Florida. He acknowledges Bushâ€™s tremendous standing throughout the state, but says he is a polarizing figure.
Jeb Bush ran in Florida for the first time in 1994, but lost a bitter contest to Democrat Lawton Chiles. University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett says he learned from that campaign to appeal to Floridians four years later.
Though Bushâ€™s successor, Charlie Crist, is a Republican, he has been much more moderate as a Governor. Crist has garnered higher approval ratings than Bush, who was popular throughout his 8 years in office.
But as the state government now deals with a critical budget shortfall, some people say that Bushâ€™s record will deserve a more thorough review than it has received so far.
Laurie Goodhue is the executive director of Florida CHAIN, a healthcare advocacy group for the poor. She recently wrote a letter critical of an op-ed Bush penned last month on what he called the success of Medicaid reform in Florida.
Critics say that the Bush name doesnâ€™t have nearly the currency that it had prior to George W. Bushâ€™s presidency. State Republicans, though, say that Jebâ€™s stature is so significant in Florida that it transcends disdain for the soon-to-be former President.
Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett says the choice of a Democratic candidate to run against a possible Bush campaign is all-encompassing, and that part of his or her candidacy should be based on running in the Florida of 2010, not the past.
Jeb Bush has said that he will decide if he is a candidate for the Florida U.S. Senate seat early in the new year.