Bush Campaign Shows Signs Of Unraveling As Jeb Drops To 4th Place In GOP Race


Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was hoping to use a shock and awe fundraising blitz to establish himself as the GOP front-runner early on in the campaign. The Bush strategy was to lock up donors and early primary voters, in order to give him the same sense of inevitability on the Republican side as Hillary Clinton enjoys in the Democratic race. However, a Fox News poll released on April 24, 2015 finds Bush’s candidacy floundering in the polls, mustering a meager 9 percent support in the multi-candidate GOP field.

Bush has embarrassingly fallen into single digits, trailing fellow Floridian, Senator Marco Rubio (13 percent support), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (12 percent), and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (10 percent). Bush is tied for fourth place with former Arkansas Governor and FOX TV personality Mike Huckabee, garnering just 9 percent support from potential Republican voters.

While the poll numbers alone are a source of concern for Jeb Bush, what may cause him even more consternation is that he also seems to be losing his grip on the invisible primary of wealthy donors in the GOP. The Bush campaign always figured they might struggle to appeal to some socially conservative rank-and-file Republicans, but their strategy was to lock down the donor class.

With enough financial support, Jeb’s hope was to essentially pummel his opponents financially and will his way to victory through the power of the almighty dollar. Bush planned to rely on the ability of heavily funded pro-Bush super PACs to trash his primary opponents and propel him to the nomination, following a pattern similar to the one employed by Mitt Romney in 2012 to fend off Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

However, as Eli Stokals at Politico noted on Thursday, Jeb Bush’s “shock and awe” fundraising strategy hasn’t panned out as planned. Stokals outlines Bush’s troubles as follows:

For a time, it looked like Bush would steamroll the GOP field with a cash-flush juggernaut that might raise as much as $100 million in the first quarter, using a variety of super PACs to push the boundaries of campaign finance laws and dominate the field.

But that was before New York hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer pledged more than $15 million to Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio gained the full-fledged support of Miami billionaire Norman Braman and became the front-runner to win casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s backing. Another rival, Scott Walker, recently became the favorite of billionaire David Koch, who seemed to tip his support for the Wisconsin governor at a fundraiser this week.

So not only has Jeb Bush begun to sink in the national polls, but he is also falling apart on the competitive fundraising front, losing the support of a significant number of prominent billionaires. Jeb Bush may have miscalculated just how ideologically right-wing Republican billionaire donors have become.

Bush’s campaign has tried to market him as the “reasonable Republican” who won’t scare business people away with his extremist ideology. What Bush’s people may have misunderstood is that Republican-friendly billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers are not necessarily interested in choosing a reasonable candidate. The GOP billionaires are perfectly comfortable with right-wing lunacy as long as the crazy man they put in the White House will grant them the right tax exemptions.

Jeb Bush may be discovering the hard way, that moderate Republicans are a dying breed. If he wants to raise an obscene amount of money to secure the GOP nomination, he may have to run further to the right. More importantly, his chances of securing the Republican nomination may depend upon his ability to convince right-wing voters that he really is one of them. Pandering to the far right won’t help Jeb Bush in November 2016, but if he doesn’t win the support of hardcore conservatives, his odds of making it to November are becoming increasingly slim.

24 Replies to “Bush Campaign Shows Signs Of Unraveling As Jeb Drops To 4th Place In GOP Race”

  1. what is the Bush “brain” saying? is he having another hissy fit because he thinks its too early to call the nomination yet?

  2. The GOP has created an impossible primary process since it’s impossible for candidates to appeal to both the RW TP loons & the moderates w/o alienating voters. Until they decide whether they’re the party of conservative extremists or moderate, reasonable Republicans, they’re going to have a hard time winning elections.

    The GOP needs to understand that the people in the US are not as conservative as they think they are or wish they would be. At the same time, many Republicans believe that the reason they lost the last two elections was because they ran candidates that weren’t conservative enough. So this time, many GOPers want to double down & run a pure & true conservative candidate.

    Until the GOP identifies who the majority of their voters are, they’re going to have a hard time winning elections. Money won’t help an unelectable candidate.

  3. Even if Bush wanted to go there, how much more “right” is left out there on the political playing field for him to carve out his positions on? Besides, won’t those currently on the far right just move further right?

    Is there anything that is too far right for these folks? The republican senate has already voted to dispose of federal land. How crazy is that? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/opinion/our-land-up-for-grabs.html?_r=0

    “It’s difficult to understand why, given decades of consistent, strong support from voters of both parties for protecting land, water and the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits these resources make possible.

    Last week, the United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to support an amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution to sell or give away all federal lands other than the national parks and monuments.”

  4. They are going to have a hard time winning National elections… like the Presidency. But there are plenty of right wing righties to extremists who win in state elections… Senators, governors, state legislatures, Congressional seats.

  5. Ah! So, the GOP Clown Car first turned into the GOP Clown Short-Bus, and with each passing day is morphing Ito the GOP Clown Hearse. Fun to watch!

  6. You Libs HATE the Bush name…but you’re just screwing yourselves by celebrating Jeb’s fall. You might not like his brother, but Jeb is actually your best bet. Hill Clinton has ZERO chance now…and it’s going to get much worse for her (and not just because of Republicans–Hillary can’t help shooting herself in the foot at every turn). Jeb was your guarantee of a Liberal president. If Hillary won–you’d have a Democrat president. If she lost to Jeb–you’d have a liberal-progressive Republican president.

    Personally, as a Libertarian, I think Jeb would be a disaster…but I can’t understand you Liberals being SO opposed to your own success just because of a name…

  7. How thoroughly humiliating it must be to be neck and neck with a risible wingnut like Mike Huckabee.

  8. The name BUSH is enough to sink any political career before it get’s started.
    It’s a rude reminder of what can happen when a Republican sits in the White House and the Free Unregulated Market is allowed to do what it does best.
    Great Recession
    Housing Bubble
    Credit Crunch
    Bank Failures
    Stock Market crash

  9. As long as all Republicans who actually want to reduce the size of government are considered “loons”, Republican nominees will have to appeal to these “loons” to win the nomination.

  10. Thank God. Get rid of Jeb. He is just like his father who was a disaster. The only time in my entire life I voted for a Democrat was when Bush the Father ran against Clinton.

    George W. was a very good guy and capable. He inherited his mother’s wisdom. Unfortunately, Jeb got more of daddy’s genes, which is why he is such a fool.

  11. Republicans are aching to run a tea Partier. Democrats hope they will as well.(WINK) Republicans seem to think all Americans live in Texas. Hillary gotta be laughing.

  12. The bush crime family has done unrepairable damage to this country. How could anyone support any of these vile globalist killers.

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