When Jeb Bush campaigns through the Sunshine State on Monday he will be joined by a powerful Florida politician many will be surprised to see at his side.
Richard Corcoran, the Florida House Speaker Designate and former chief of staff to then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, is endorsing Bush’s bid for the White House.
“I have known Jeb Bush for over 20 years,” Corcoran states in a release sent to FloridaPolitics.com and POLITICO. “As Governor, Jeb Bush set the standard against which all other conservatives in this state are measured – no one in Florida would argue that. Jeb Bush always stepped up and was true to his principles, even if that meant facing difficult consequences. I saw him in moments when it would have been easy to cave to the special interests and just go along with the status quo; yet he never did.”
Corcoran’s endorsement of Bush is significant for several reasons.
First, it is an endorsement from a significant Florida pol nearly a week AFTER Bush’s widely-panned debate performance. Asking Corcoran to campaign with him is the clearest sign yet that Bush has no plans to drop out of the race.
Second, Corcoran’s endorsement is an ‘Et tu, Brute’ moment: as a former top adviser to Rubio, the argument can be made that few know Rubio’s abilities — and limitations — as a leader better than Corcoran.
Third, Corcoran’s brother, Michael, is arguably the most prominent Florida lobbyist (other than, perhaps, Nick Iarossi) backing Rubio’s campaign. Michael Corcoran has, by one estimate, raised approximately $250,000 for Rubio’s presidential campaign.
Corcoran joins every other Florida House Speaker of the modern Republican era — Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, Allan Bense, Tom Feeney, John Thrasher and Daniel Webster — other than Rubio and Johnnie Byrd in backing Bush.
“He is without question, the most courageous, conservative
Bush is making three appearances in the state he governed for eight years Monday, even though the Sunshine State doesn’t vote until March 15, after the first four major states in the race: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
The “Jeb can fix it” tour, as it’s being dubbed, begins in South Tampa at 10:30 a.m. at the Tampa Garden Club. From there, Bush, Corcoran and Co. will cross I-4 to appear at the Conductive Education Center of Orlando in Winter Park at 1 p.m. Bush then completes the day of campaigning with a town hall meeting at Kaman Aerospace in Jacksonville at 4 p.m.