Florida may have to decide between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

Jeb Bush 4By Lynn R. Mitchell

With Florida Senator Marco Rubio set to announce today that he is running for U.S. President, it is worth looking at how Republicans in Florida feel about their former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Rubio getting into the same race. While many would like to see Rubio run for re-election in the senate, if both end up in the presidential race it will mean Floridians must decide between them.

Jeb is 62 years old. Rubio is 43. Jeb mentored Rubio. Some think Rubio needs to get a little more experience under his belt. From USA Today (see Florida GOP begins choosing sides in Bush vs. Rubio):

Bush and Rubio live less than three miles apart in South Florida and are personally and politically close. Rubio was a state lawmaker from West Miami when Bush was governor. Rubio ascended to speaker of the Florida House in 2006, just as Bush was leaving the governor’s mansion and returning to private life in Coral Gables.

Their anticipated competition on the campaign trail reportedly hasn’t soured their friendship, even as Republican activists and donors in the state begin the awkward process of choosing sides.

Much of the money and establishment support has gravitated toward Bush. Some fans of both have said Rubio should run for re-election to the Senate next year and leave the White House campaign to Bush.

“I think Marco is a truly outstanding person. I love him. A fine man. (But) I love Jeb Bush more,” said Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida real estate developer and former Republican National Committee finance chairman who co-chaired George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns.

Hoffman embodies the priorities of Florida’s Old Guard, whose members believe Bush is more seasoned than Rubio and better qualified to win the presidency.

“Jeb comes across as the more accomplished person, more experienced … smarter,” said Hoffman, who chaired Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign committee and tried to talk him out of running for president. “When I think of Jeb Bush, I think of accomplishments. When I think about Marco Rubio, I see (him) working hard to learn the job. I see great potential.”

I like Rubio and he’s in my top three but my number one candidate is Jeb Bush.


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