December 6, 2014


Jeb Bush Putting Out Feelers in New Hampshire (Scott Conroy, December 4, 2014, RCP)

Two top New Hampshire Republican strategists have been contacted this week by a Jeb Bush confidant to discuss their interest in leading the former Florida governor's prospective presidential campaign there, RealClearPolitics has learned from GOP sources in the Granite State.

The new outreach from Bush's camp was directed at a pair of experienced and well-respected New Hampshire GOP operatives, each of whom has previously helmed presidential campaigns in the state.  

Both were given the proverbial instruction to "keep your powder dry," suggesting that Bush is leaning toward entering the race early next year.  

"I think the decision's been made, personally," said one of the strategists who was contacted by Bush's camp and who spoke to RCP under the condition of anonymity. 

A Blast From the Past : Can Jeb Bush survive his own party? (John Dickerson, 12/04/14, Slate)

 "I kinda know how a Republican can win," he told the paper's Washington bureau chief, Gerald Seib, "much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be practical and ... to lose the primary to win the general." Bush then mused about what a Romney presidency would have looked like and how Bush might run the place. "Here's a problem, let's go fix it," he said. "Put aside, you know, the ideological differences, let's forge consensus around, this is a problem, how do we go from point A to point B to fix it." (No wonder 73 percent of the audience of CEOs picked Bush as their preferred nominee.)

What the former Florida governor means about the relationship between the Republican primary and the general election is that his party's clubhouse contest for picking a nominee is broken. It forces candidates to do things to get elected by Republicans that make them unappealing to the general election audience. When Seib asked what it would look like to run as a candidate who didn't bend to the requirements of his party's process, Bush replied, "Frankly no one really knows that, because it hasn't been tried recently."

If he runs, Bush will either be a revolutionary figure who overcomes his party's nominating patterns or he will be this cycle's Jon Huntsman.* The former Utah governor also shared Bush's critical view of the GOP nominating process. In 2012, Republican primary voters did not like that message and the way he delivered it, and Huntsman flamed out after a third place finish in New Hampshire, where he had stacked all of his chips. 

It hasn't been done since...last cycle.  GHWB, W , Maverick, and Mitt were all out of step with the Beltway Right, but they were good general election candidates so the base chose them.  

That Huntsman bit is especially amusing though.  He wasn't even the strongest Mormon running in 2012, let alone in NH which is always a strong spot for a candidate from MA.

Jeb comes to the race with four overwhelming things in his favor : (1) it's the party of next, and no one is more next than he is; (2) he's a governor, not a senator; (3) the money and organization will come easiest to him; and (4) he's the Evangelical in a race for the Evangelical Party's nomination.

Posted by at December 6, 2014 6:18 PM

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