Mitch Perry Report for 12.17.14 – Jeb Bush takes control

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Whatever Jeb Bush decided to do regarding the presidential sweepstakes, it would be major news. But in his announcing a leadership PAC (but not an exploratory committee) via Facebook on Tuesday morning,  he definitely has made the first strike in attempting to join his father and brother in the most exclusive club in America, if not the world.

Make no mistake about it — the announcement of this leadership PAC (which several other candidates for president have formed) is simply a formality before Bush gets even more press attention in a few months when he “officially” kicks off his 2015 candidacy for the nomination, which he hopes will end in triumph at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in June of 2016. Unless he’s totally rejected by the base, in which case he says never mind in a few months and continues to make a lot of money (via his new offshore private equity firm).

We’ve heard a lot about how the “donor class” will now make their collected voices heard, with Jeb’s entry into the race. There’s no doubt that Bush has the most extensive fundraising network in the country to tap into of all the rumored candidates, including Mitt Romney, who while steadfastly denying any interest in running for a third consecutive cycle, continues to lead in many polls among registered Republicans.

Marco Rubio’s spokesman said that Bush’s decision wouldn’t affect the freshman senator’s own timetable for running, but surely some of those fundraisers that Marco was hoping to tap may now be committing to Bush. Although Rubio realizes that Bush’s candidacy was always a possibility, the reality is different. But he should still go hard in 2015, and if it doesn’t work out, go ahead and run (and presumably win) his re-election in the Senate in 2016.

Let’s face it — if you dig politics, this is going to be interesting. The conventional wisdom is that Bush is out of step with the base of the 2014 GOP — especially its Tea Party contingent.

Of course, as has been well documented in recent weeks, anyone who lived in any part of the Bush Dynasty from 1998-2006 here in Florida would never say Bush isn’t conservative enough, but he does always seem to be considered by national pundits as one of the “wise men/adults” in the race, which is not what you would say about, say, Ted Cruz, or probably Rand Paul for that matter.

Paul was one of the first of Bush’s probable opponents who quickly came out of the gate to blast the former Florida governor, taking out a Google search ad on his name.  “Join a movement working to shrink government. Not grow it,” the ad states, with a link to RandPAC, Paul’s longstanding federal leadership committee, and a page asking supporters to give their email address and zip code to “Stand With Rand.”

In other news..

Deborah Tamargo is the new chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee. She defeated former chair Debbie Cox-Roush in a close vote Tuesday night.

Jack Latvala is back with that promised bill to get 64-ounce growlers in the state of Florida passed.

Tyler Barrett is only 23 and still a student at the University of Tampa, but he’s running for City Council in Tampa next  year.

Florida corporations team up to try to eliminate a state law that allows for the discrimination of those in the LGBT community.

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.