Jeb Bush Archives - Page 7 of 147 - Florida Politics

Jeb Bush says he’ll campaign for David Jolly in CD 13

Jeb Bush has formally endorsed David Jolly in his race for reelection to his seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County, and says he’ll campaign for him this fall.

“I’m excited David Jolly decided to run for his congressional seat and I plan on actively campaigning for his re-election,” said Bush in a statement sent out by the Jolly campaign. “Representative Jolly has done what any congressman should do and that’s do the job that he was elected to do. I am proud to support him in this race.”

Jolly backed Bush in his unsuccessful bid for president that ended earlier this year. He said it was an honor to receive such “enthusiastic support” from the former Florida Governor.

“Jeb worked tirelessly for all Floridians as Governor and especially for children throughout Pinellas and the entire nation as an advocate for education reform,” Jolly said in the statement. “We share this commitment to education, particularly when it comes to improving early childhood education and student readiness. I look forward to working with Governor Bush and families throughout Pinellas on these and other important priorities.”

Despite raising more than $100 million during his campaign for president over the last year, Bush had trouble breaking through with the Republican electorate during the race, and dropped out after finishing a disappointing fourth in the South Carolina primary in February. However, he remains a superstar in GOP politics in Florida, and it shouldn’t be much of a problem for him to campaign against Crist, who succeeded him in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee back in 2006.

Crist left the GOP to run and lose as an independent to Marco Rubio in the race for U.S. Senate in 2010. After that election, Bush said Crist had “abandoned” the Republican Party and was “not welcome” to return.

In fact, Crist never did return to the GOP. He officially switched to become a Democrat in late 2012, and became the Florida Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2014, where he narrowly lost to Rick Scott.

8 Reasons Rick Scott is the perfect veep for Donald Trump

Rick Scott is basically as awful as Donald Trump in so many ways. But before Floridians start petitioning Trump to introduce Scott to a presidential election turnout and an embarrassing loss before Scott runs for U.S. Senate in 2018, read all eight reasons.

8) Cons. Scott didn’t build his $300-some million fortune with a fraudulent university, but he did help build a company that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by way more, paying a record $1.7 billion fine.

7) Muslims. Scott was offending Muslims and Hispanics long before Trump descended down the escalator at Trump Tower. Scott put some of his first campaign dollars into fearmongering about Muslims in “Obama’s Mosque” near Ground Zero in 2010. Also, mic cut.

6) Hispanics. Similar to Trump, and despite all evidence, Hispanics love Scott, according to … only Rick Scott. Scott claims he “won” the Hispanic vote in 2014, despite actually losing it by 20 percent.

5) Little Marco. While Trump’s insults are infamous, Scott is doing his part in Florida. He backed Trump over Rubio (and Jeb!) and is now working against Rubio in his U.S. Senate race, supporting mini-Trump Carlos Beruff, best known for unapologetically calling President Obama an “animal.”

4) Smarts. Trump could own Anderson Cooper‘s “RedicuList” segment, but Scott once got on it for insulting “everybody’s intelligence” trying to defend himself for using on-duty cops at campaign events.

3) Votes. Trump needs turnout to be as depressed as Jeb! after South Carolina. Scott has been hard at work, rolling back civil rights reforms that allowed nonviolent ex-felons to vote.

2) Money. Scott won in 2014 by outspending his opponent on TV by $33 millionRomney lost Florida by less than 1 percent in 2012, but only outspent Obama by $17 million. An extra $16 million might have bought 29 electoral votes.

1) Florida. Trump can’t win without Florida, and Rick Scott knows how to win here.


Kevin Cate owns CATECOMM, a public relations, digital, and advertising firm based in Florida.

Marco Rubio leads Carlos Beruff 71% to 7% in new AIF poll

Marco Rubio holds a 60-plus point lead over Carlos Beruff.

That’s according to a new Associated Industries of Florida poll of likely Republican primary voters. The survey — conducted June 27 and June 28, one week after Rubio announced he was running for re-election — found 71 percent of respondents said they would support Rubio in the primary.

Seven percent of voters said they would vote for Beruff, while 18 percent said they were still undecided.

Rubio announced last week he was running for a second term in the U.S. Senate, reversing a previous decision to return to private life when his term ended. The decision cleared the field, with Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox all bowing out of the race.

Beruff, a Manatee County homebuilder who has poured a significant amount of his own wealth into the race already, said he would continue to run for the seat. He has said he is prepared to put another $10 million to $15 million more into the race.

Rubio has received the backing of several top Republicans in Florida, including Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and former Gov. Jeb Bush. He’s also received support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Sen. Ted Cruz.

One top Republican who hasn’t thrown his support behind him? Gov. Rick Scott.

In a Facebook post last week, Scott stopped short of endorsing Beruff, but said the “Florida voters deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Sen. Rubio and make their own decision.”

While the AIF polling memo notes Rubio’s entry into the race creates an entirely different field than just a few weeks ago, it also points out Rubio was leaps and bounds ahead of Republicans even before he got into the race.

When AIF conducted a similar survey in April, 50 percent of Republicans said they would support Rubio. The April survey found 5 percent of respondents would support Beruff, while 26 percent said they were undecided. Jolly was in second in the April survey by AIF, with 8 percent support.

The AIF poll is in line with another poll released this week. A survey conducted for News 13/Bay News 9 found 63 percent of Republicans would vote for Rubio in the Aug. 30 primary, while 11 percent said they planned to support Beruff. In that survey, 13 percent of respondents were undecided.

The most recent AIF poll surveyed 750 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Jeb Bush throws his support behind Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate bid

Jeb Bush has picked his candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

The former Florida governor announced Thursday he was backing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race. The announcement came one day after Rubio announced he was running for re-election.

Bush took to Twitter on Thursday to announce his support, saying he is “joining many good conservatives in supporting” Rubio. He continued by saying there is “nothing more important than” keeping a Republican majority in the Senate.


Both men were among the more than a dozen Republicans vying for their party’s nomination for president. During the campaign, Bush had a few harsh words, including telling him he should be showing up to work.

“I’m a constituent of the senator, and I helped him, and I expected he would do constituent services, which meant he would show up to work,” said Bush during the CNBC debate in October. “When you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work.”

Bush dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary. Rubio dropped out a few weeks later after a disappointing showing in the Florida primary.

Rubio faces Republicans Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

Tim Tebow, others cut from replacement statue list

Alas, former Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow will not be immortalized in marble or bronze anytime soon.

At least not in the U.S. Capitol.

Nor will Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen, adult film star and Florida native Riley Reid and former Gov. “Jeb Bush‘s political career (not him, his career).”

They were among nominees proposed by members of the public but rejected by staff to replace a statue of a Confederate Army general, one of two representing Florida in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. The other statue, of scientist-inventor Dr. John Gorrie of Apalachicola, a pivotal figure in the invention of air conditioning, will remain.

The list of rejects was released by Department of State officials Wednesday.

Some of the suggestions were likely meant to be funny (Mad magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman, misspelled as “Newman”), others were chilling (serial killer Ted Bundy) and still others obscure (anybody know “James L. Pippin“?).

Earlier in the day, a special panel of the Great Floridians Program recommended Bethune-Cookman University founder Mary McLeod Bethune, Publix Super Markets founder George W. Jenkins and author and Everglades defender Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

State lawmakers will pick one of those finalists next year.

To be eligible for consideration, nominees had to be a “citizen of the State of Florida, either by birth or residence” and be “deceased for 10 years or more, as of January 1, 2017.”

Tebow, Hiaasen and Reid are all still living. “Jeb Bush’s political career” was disqualified for being “not a human entity.”

Tebow got the most votes, 153.

In second place on the ineligible list was Confederate Army Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, the very man sought to be replaced. He got 49 votes, probably in protest. He was dismissed as “already in Statuary Hall.”

Third place was claimed by GOP U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, also not dead. He received 27 votes, or 28 if you count a debatable entry for “Little Marco’s tiny … ,” followed by the word for a certain male body part. (It was disqualified as “not a human entity.”)

Other notable nominees include retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden (still living), the late congressman from Pinellas County Bill Young (not dead for 10 years), Tallahassee native and chocolate chip cookie entrepreneur Wally Amos (still living) and “Florida Man” (fictional character, though some would disagree).

Also getting votes were Sandra Hull-Richardson, the first black president of the Junior League of Jacksonville (still living), and Mary Athalie Wilkinson Range, the first black to sit on Miami’s City Commission and the first woman to head a Florida state agency, the Department of Community Affairs (dead fewer than 10 years).

And “Statuey McStatueface” got a vote but was turned away for being “not a human entity.” The name is likely a play on “Boaty McBoatface,” the winner of an online vote by a British government agency to name a $287 million polar research vessel.

The complete list, unedited, is here. Reader discretion is advised.

NARAL Pro-Choice America to begin airing ads attacking Marco Rubio in Florida

During his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign, Marco Rubio went further than most Republicans ever have when he said he would deny abortion to women who are survivors of rape and incest.

Such a stance was considered outside mainstream sensibilities, and the pro-choice group NARAL Pro-Choice began airing TV ads against Rubio following the New Hampshire primary on that issue.

Now with the Florida senator announcing Wednesday he will run for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat, the group says they will begin airing that same 30-second TV ad in the Sunshine State, beginning later this week.

“Rubio would deny the choice of an abortion to all Americans, even those who are survivors of rape and incest,” said Sasha Bruce, senior vice president for campaigns and strategy at NARAL. “While Rubio may try to portray himself as some sort of new generation of Republican, his position on abortion is from the Dark Ages and is far more extreme than even many of his Republican colleagues. While Rubio’s record is thin, his priorities of rolling back reproductive freedoms are crystal clear. And those priorities are wrong for Florida and the nation.”

Rubio was attacked by some of his fellow Republicans running for president for his abortion stance during the campaign.

“Politically, it’s a tough sell to tell a pro-life mother — had her daughter been raped — that she would just have to accept that as a sad fact,” Jeb Bush told CNN last February. “This is not an easy decision, but Marco will have to explain that position.”

“I’m very pro-life, that’s a sensitive issue, but I think in a general election that will be a hard sell,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Watch the ad below:


Activist group blasts Marco Rubio for opposing a federal judge after he initially supported her

A Florida-based activist group is blasting Marco Rubio for blocking a former Miami-Dade judge from a federal judgeship, especially after the fact that he initially supported her.

In February of 2015, the White House announced that Mary Barzee Flores had been chosen as a district court judge in South Florida. The lifetime post requires Senates confirmation.

Her nomination came with the recommendations of both Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson, Florida’s two senators.

However, while Nelson complied with tradition and returned his so-called blue card that is sent to the nominee’s home state senators for approval, Rubio has neglected to do so for more than  year. Returning that blue slip automatically triggers a confirmation hearing. Rubio had not previously commented publicly about his refusal to do so, but his office admitted to the Miami Herald  over the weekend that Rubio’s office has been it clear for the first time that he is actively blocking her nomination, saying that she is the  “wrong person” for the South Florida federal judgeship.

Critics contend that Rubio is playing his part of the Republican obstructionist machine, determined in President Obama’s last year in office to deny him federal judgeships that will last a lifetime.

“Despite the urgent need to fill judicial vacancies among Florida’s federal courts, Sen. Rubio has engaged in a pattern of judicial obstruction that is wreaking havoc on our overburdened, understaffed courts while denying and delaying justice for Floridians,” Mark Ferullo with the Florida chapter of the group Why Courts Matter. “In the case of the lingering vacancy in the Southern District, Sen. Rubio has offered no specific explanation for blocking Mary Barzee Flores’ nomination. Sen. Rubio’s obstruction has contributed to slowing confirmations to a snail’s pace, with the Senate on track to confirm the fewest number of judges since 1960.”

Ferullo went on to note that the federal courts in the Middle and South Districts of Florida have declared judicial emergencies because of three long-time judicial vacancies.

“Delaying justice for Floridians is denying justice for Floridians and Sen. Rubio’s judicial obstruction is indefensible,” Ferullo concluded.

In the Herald story on Saturday, the paper quote Miami attorney Tom Spencer, a Republican who supported former Governor Jeb Bush during the past presidential election cycle, as questioning why does Rubio think Barzee Flores is the wrong person now when he supported her selection to the nominating committee and submitted her name to Obama?

“Clearly, some huge pressure was put on Rubio to put the knife into Judge Flores, and Rubio will not reveal the real reason for this hypocrisy,” Spencer said. “This is precisely why so many Florida Republicans are fed up with Rubio and the corrosive nature of his big money politics.”

Democrats nationally have attempted to make a political issue out of the Republican Senate’s refusal to grant Merrick Garland, Obama’s choice to succeed Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, a confirmation hearing. Although polls show that the public would like that as well, it hasn’t become a dominant issue as the Democrats perhaps had hoped it would be.


Joe Henderson: Florida Republicans just can’t let go of Marco Rubio

When it comes to Marco Rubio, Florida Republican Party leaders are starting to sound like a jilted lover that can’t quite let it go.

They ignore that Rubio was beaten soundly by Donald Trump in 65 of the state’s 66 counties in the Florida Primary, causing him to drop out of the presidential race. They ignore that he has repeatedly trashed his job as a senator in both word and deed.

They ignore a recent Quinnipiac poll that showed 49 percent of Floridians disapprove of his performance while only 42 percent approve. They’re willing to look past his stumbles on the presidential campaign trail, especially the way Chris Christie made him look foolish and ill-prepared during the New Hampshire primary.

None of this seems to matter.

They are practically crawling to Rubio, all but begging him to change his mind and run for re-election to his seat in the U.S. Senate after he repeatedly said he wouldn’t. Given his serious and considerable baggage, the fact that they see Rubio as their champion says a lot about what they think of their chances to keep that seat in the GOP column.

And while Rubio’s words say “no, no, no” his actions say, “um, maybe … if you ask me real nice.”

For instance, he told CNN he might consider changing his mind if his good friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera wasn’t in the race.

“I think he’s put in time and energy to it and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it,” Rubio said.

Of course, friendship didn’t stand in the way of running against Jeb Bush for president. That friendship was strained, too; after he dropped out, Bush refused to endorse Rubio, even after pushing for him to be the vice president for Mitt Romney in 2012.

And while he was still in the campaign, Bush told The Washington Post, “Let me ask you, what has (Rubio) accomplished? What has he done in his life that makes you think he can make the tough calls, develop strategy?”

Good question.

What has Rubio accomplished, other than express disdain for the job he was elected to do? He has name recognition, sure, but as the Quinnipiac poll shows that can cut both ways.

None of that apparently matters to Republicans casting a longing eye in Rubio’s direction. Maybe it should.


Joe Henderson has had a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also including hard news. The two intertwined in the decade-long search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. Henderson was also City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. He served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. Henderson has numerous local, state and national writing awards. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and has two grown sons – Ben and Patrick.

An Auburn license plate in Florida is a bad idea

A pair of eminent Florida politicos want to introduce legislation to create a specialty Florida license plate bearing the logo of Auburn University.

That’s a bad idea for several reasons.

No animus against Democratic strategist Kevin Cate, one of the kindest political people around, or Rep. Jamie Grant, who gives me courage despite my own receding hairline. But this is an idea whose time should never come.

Florida, for one thing, has enough trouble supporting its own institutions.

Historians and scholars studying Florida often point to a “placelessness” pervading the state.

This slippery, abstract idea has launched a thousand masters theses about identity and political geography, but what it comes down to is this: people come here from elsewhere and keep living like they never left home.

Native Floridians have all felt the slings and arrows of this phenomenon.

In Sarasota, you can find bars plastered with Indiana University and Michigan State banners, where patrons sing that dumb Chicago Bears fight song. Tampa Bay Rays fans are numbly accustomed to being outnumbered at home games when the Yankees and Red Sox — or even the Detroit Tigers — are in town. And it goes without saying that much of South Florida is an ad hoc menagerie of cantons whose cultures are almost entirely imported.

In other words the distilled spirit of Florida Itself, if it exists, is hard to come by. This bit of state-sanctioned carpetbagging won’t help.

A new Auburn vanity plate would also set an unwise precedent. No other out-of-state college has an official Florida tag.

Yes, it’s true our Georgia neighbors allow residents to sport their War Damn Eagle pride on a state license plate. But it makes sense there because an appreciable percentage of Auburn alums end up working in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia. (After all, the only growing sector of Alabama’s economy is legal defense for its political leaders.)

Not really so in Florida. Cate cites 15,000 Auburn alums living and working in Florida, as well as the influence of AU alum Jimmy Buffett among others on the state’s culture.

But that’s a drop in the bucket: a mere 0.075 percent of Florida’s population. Ohio State boasts more than 14,000 alums in Florida — I doubt any of us wants to see any more Buckeye plates on I-75. And, after all, Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live in Key West anymore.

Plus, Florida lawmakers have real work to do.

Sure, not expanding Medicaid doesn’t take much effort, but how about another go at banning Sharia law? That resolution apologizing to Donald Trump for endorsing Jeb Bush and/or Marco Rubio won’t draft itself. These things take time, and it is always in short supply in part-time Tallahassee.

Not to mention the excruciating minutes of “fun” frivolous debate the bill will require. TED Appropriations Chair and former Florida State lineman Clay Ingram will make a dopey joke about the 2013 National Championship Game, Bill Hager will introduce a joke amendment to create a plate for his beloved University of North Iowa Panthers — an argument that would have the same force as Grant and Cate’s, by the way —  or the interminable intra-SEC banter from the Legislature’s many Florida Gators.

Let’s not put ourselves through that.

Far be it from me to limit free speech. By all means Auburn Tigers, let your flag fly, unless it’s that flag.

But as Lawton Chiles said when he vetoed the “Choose Life” plate, Florida’s license plates are “not the proper forum.”

Tom Jackson: Hit that reset button already, Marco Rubio

Well past the point that it became abundantly — and, in some circles, painfully — obvious that Marco Rubio should have applied himself to the job he convinced Floridians he wanted in 2010, a fresh question has arisen:

Should Rubio declare himself a candidate for re-election?

The answer is: Duh.

Of course, he should. This is the biggest no-brainer since Captain America rejected United Nations sanctions. It’s hard to believe he’s even hemming, let alone hawing.

Listen, everyone gets that Rubio has been that “young man in a hurry” for nearly 20 years, especially those on whose hands he stepped reaching for the next rung. And he almost couldn’t be blamed for seeking the presidency, considering how establishment conservatives rhapsodized about his wonkmanship, his reform policies and his political skills.

And maybe, if he’d been quicker with his wits on that New Hampshire stage, maybe the 3-2-1 strategy laid out by his strategists would have prevailed. I mean, suppose Rubio had prefaced his infamous robotic repetitions with a deft qualifier, such as, “Yes, I’m repeating myself, and I will continue to repeat myself because it doesn’t matter how you pose the question, the answer remains the same. What’s true is true: Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing.”

This is not beyond imagining, no matter how programmed Rubio’s critics think he is. Indeed, those who know him well, and those who covered him closely during the primary, know he is perfectly capable of riffing off-script without sacrificing expertise.

But that was then, and this is now, more than two months after the stinging defeat in Florida that ended — for the moment, anyway — his White House dream. And just now, Republicans defending lots of purple-state seats need to field their best team if they have any hope of maintaining their majority in the U.S. Senate.

With all due respect to the political talent wrangling to become the GOP nominee — with one tin-eared exception — that team looks better if Rubio is on the roster.

The idea might be growing on him, too. Tuesday afternoon, an email landed bearing Rubio’s signature and the subject line “Time to stand together.”

It reads, in part, “Our liberal opponents have already launched countless attacks against many of my Republican colleagues. We must protect our Republican Senate majority.

“Defeating these Democrats will only be possible if conservatives like us stand together to defend our Republican Senate.”

“Stand together.” At the risk of reading way, way, way too much into a fundraising email, this hints that Mr. I’ll-Be-A-Private-Citizen is signaling a fresh course.

He ought to be, anyway.

With the clarity of retrospect, Rubio shouldn’t have leapt into the awful Republican scrum in the first place. Never mind that he was, with the exception of one memorable debate, clearly the best-informed candidate in the pack. I lost track of the times he fact-checked Donald Trump in real time.

(An aside: The fact Rubio says he’s willing to speak nicely about Trump at the Republican National Convention is a problem for supporters who took his eviscerations of the presumptive nominee to heart, but it’s also, unfortunately, a calculated penance. We’ll be listening closely for what he does and, more important, doesn’t say.)

Alas, this was not the year for facts, articulated policies or — as Jeb Bush came to appreciate and rue — deeply researched and painstakingly detailed plans to fix what ails America. This, instead, is the year a substantial chunk of voters think the presidency is a reality show.

After all, how hard can it be? Barack Obama makes nuke deals with Iran, slows the retreat of glaciers, amends his namesake health plan at will and still squeezes in an afternoon 18 at Fort Belvoir Golf Club.

What’s a first-term senator encountering an unanticipated detour to do? Reroute, already. Hit the reset button. Immediately. Not just because it’s what’s in Rubio’s best political interests, but because the other GOP candidates need time before the June 24 filing deadline to make alternate plans.

Again, re-election to the Senate also is Rubio’s best path forward. He’s not likely to be elected Florida’s governor anytime soon; Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the most-Florida politician ever, is practically Rick Scott’s heir apparent. And former state House Speaker Will Weatherford, every bit as talented, is almost certain to maneuver himself into future consideration.

Besides, being a senator is a cool job, in and of itself. And if Rubio wins again, then buckles down to the work while avoiding past missteps (the Gang of Eight immigration scheme leaps to mind), ratcheting up his constituent service and resisting the lure of another presidential run in 2020, then by 2024 or 2028 at the outside, he’d be in his 50s, experienced, wiser and a little gray at the temples; the game would again be afoot.

Indeed, perhaps by then he’ll have served in a Republican administration: Secretary of State Marco Rubio. It could happen. And there are worse launching pads.

Hit that button already, Sen. Rubio. It’s the right thing all-around.


Recovering sports columnist and former Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson argues on behalf of thoughtful conservative principles as our best path forward. Fan of the Beach Boys, pulled-pork barbecue and days misspent at golf, Tom lives in New Tampa with his wife, two children and two yappy middle-aged dogs.

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