The Democratic National Committee’s oppo research team enjoyed poking fun at Jeb Bush yesterday, sending out an email after he was quoted in one setting over the weekend as saying that “I don’t think you need to spend $1 billion to be elected president of the United States,” while another quote attributed to him Sunday night while addressing hundreds of top donors in Miami that his organization had him saying that he “has raised more money in its first 100 days than any other Republican operation in modern history.”
Look, Jeb Bush is an impressive candidate. He may not win the nomination (it would help if he would actually declare his candidacy to get around the fact that he’s raising unlimited amounts because it’s going to his Right to Rise PAC and not his campaign), but he’s as substantive as any of the more than a dozen men and women who are vying to be the party’s standard bearer in 2016.
But there’s Bush, and then there’s his money.
We’ve been overwhelmed with news since he entered the race last December about how much money he’s going to raise, as if that’s the reason he should be president. It’s frankly a bit excessive and off putting, and I don’t think it’s going to impress anyone in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states that will vote in the election next year and that have a disproportionate effect generally on who becomes the nominee.
The New York Times has an excellent story this morning about Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, who has been competitive with Bush as the early, early front-runner in the contest. The thrust of the piece is that Walker is all but conceding that Bush is going to dominate the fundraising for the first half of 2015, but that Walker is playing the long game — working with some big financial donors himself, but also preparing to be a better candidate by being versed on foreign policy, which is something he’s never had to deal with as a local and state lawmaker.
“The governor’s bet is that Mr. Bush, who has spent most of this year courting donors, will fail to connect with grass-roots conservatives, and that Mr. Walker’s executive experience in Wisconsin will contrast favorably against the three senators in the race: Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida,” The Times reports.
Yes, it’s a big bet, but it’s also not a bad bet. Whether Walker will ultimately be the nominee or not, though, his strategy has been affected by Bush’s fundraising. It’s meant to foreclose the competition, but with Ben Carson, Carly Florina and Mike Huckabee all expected to announce their candidacies next week, he’s hardly intimidating anyone with his fundraising prowess.
In other news…
Ben Carson was in Sarasota last night. Here’s our report.
As the Florida House and Senate remain at loggerheads regarding the budget impasse vis a vis Medicaid expansion, a Georgetown University professor said that some of the rhetoric Florida House members are saying about Medicaid isn’t based on any facts that she’s aware of.
Tampa attorney Brian Willis turned 32 last week, and he celebrated by hosting a fundraiser for his goal of becoming a Hillsborough county commissioner next year.
Marco Rubio is in California this week, and the environmental activists with NextGen Climate would like to invite him into their offices for a little education on how they say combating climate change can be good for the a region’s economy.