By Lynn R. Mitchell
“Governor Bush is a true conservative leader with a long-term vision for this country and the practical know how to implement it. After eight years of anemic growth and declining international relevance, America needs a President that can re-energize our nation and recapture our greatness — Jeb Bush is that man. I look forward to working closely with the Governor and his team as they chart a course to the White House.” – Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
In a move that excited many Virginia Republicans on Thursday night, former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor joined the Jeb Bush for President team and endorsed the former Florida governor (see Cantor endorses Bush at Richmond fundraiser and on Twitter). Also endorsing Governor Bush were former Virginia Lieutenant Governor John Hager and former Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kay James. Bush has tapped Cantor, Hager, and James, a diverse group of Virginians, to be his co-chairs for the Virginia campaign.
John and Maggie Hager are in-laws with former President and Mrs. George W. Bush. Their son, Henry, is married to the Bush’s daughter Jenna. Hager has been one of the most consistently supportive members of the Republican Party of Virginia, continuing to this day to attend multiple events across the Commonwealth and steadfastly backing GOP candidates while boosting grassroots volunteers.
Kay Cole James served the administrations of Governor George Allen and President George W. Bush, served as dean of Regent University’s government school, and currently is a member of the NASA Advisory Council.
Congressman Cantor, who has long worked with Jeb Bush on education reform and who is very respected by grassroots activists as well as the business and financial communities, introduced Bush at the Thursday evening fundraiser that was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.
Accompanying Bush at the fundraiser was his son, George P. Bush, who became Texas Land Commissioner earlier this year.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported:
The private fundraiser is hosted by W. Heywood Fralin, chairman of the Board of Medical Facilities of America, Inc. and vice chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; Richmond businessman Bill Goodwin, and former Lt. Gov. John Hager and his wife Margaret.
Goodwin and his family own Richmond-based The Riverstone Group, which owns The Jefferson, the Kiawah Island golf resort, The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C. and Keswick Hall resort in Albemarle County.
“Cantor can raise money like few others, and his new financial sector job gives him even more access to cash. So Cantor can insure that Bush’s already-overflowing war chest will never be empty,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
Many local Republican legislators as well as 2015 GOP candidates were in attendance to hear Governor Bush address a wide variety of issues and respond to questions. According to an attendee, Bush was very articulate as he discussed issues that ranged from his views on immigration to his strong stand on education reform and Florida’s award-winning strides forward that benefited their students, to his desire to extend the GOP outreach into Latino communities, African-American communities, and others in Virginia where Republicans do not normally go to compete for votes.
The Washington Post reported on more Bush 2016 endorsements (see Eric Cantor endorsing Jeb Bush):
The Cantor endorsement comes amid a wave of announced support for Bush among local and statewide Republican officials in several states. From mayors to Florida, to state legislators in Nevada and Michigan, the candidate has picked up the endorsements despite his sagging poll numbers in early primary states and the surging campaign of businessman Donald Trump.
On Capitol Hill, Bush has more public endorsements than any other presidential candidate. In recent weeks, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have announced that they’re backing Bush. In the House, Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) and a majority of the Florida Republican congressional delegation are also on board.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin noted the importance of Cantor’s name recognition for Jeb Bush in Virginia (see About that Jeb ad, Right Turn):
“… this week Bush picked up the endorsement of former House majority leader Eric Cantor, beating out several other campaigns that badly wanted his support. Many pundits scoffed at the endorsement, oblivious to the deposed former leader’s utility. Cantor’s loss in 2014 was greeted with shock and horror by the very people Bush seeks — middle-of-the-road voters and donors. Cantor’s opponent, David Brat, was the same sort of extreme tea party candidate that the pro-Trump radicals and right-wing media like. So with Cantor, Bush gets a reassuring conservative voice who is influential with the very people he wants to win over. Moreover, Cantor was among the most prolific fundraisers for the GOP, a nice asset for Bush, and has unparalleled credentials in the Jewish community. That’s why other candidates wanted him so badly.”
We have petitions for Jeb Bush so please let me know if you want to sign, or if you would like to circulate them to help the Jeb 2016 campaign. #TeamCantor #TeamJeb!
Jeb photo by GOP Friend
August 27, 2015