Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced yesterday that he will indeed form a political action committee for purposes of testing his viability in a campaign for president, thus following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps. The announcement is hardly a surprise based upon Bush’s political moves of the preceding weeks.
The other potential candidates who spoke about a potential Jeb Bush candidacy – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and previous 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney – are unanimously moving forward with their own political plans regardless of whether or not the legacy candidate enters the race.
Since Republican voters have a history of always turning to their heir apparent in the presidential race, the more establishment-oriented potential candidacies of Bush and Romney must be taken seriously. If they both enter the race, along with adding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the mix, the more centrist voters will likely be split, thus possibly opening the door for fresher candidates like Sen. Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and others.
When looking at the general election match-ups, a Romney/Bush style candidate may be exactly what the Democrats are looking for despite the Hillary Clinton camp’s comments about what a formidable opponent Bush would make. The Democrats, in the person of President Obama, have proven they have found the formula to beat those being viewed as moderate, or establishment, Republicans and would again be well positioned to do so in 2016.
On the other hand, a Bush candidacy might put an end to any current presidential aspirations Sen. Rubio may hold. Having two candidates from one state, just like Texans Rick Perry and Ted Cruz and Wisconsinites Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan, is a difficult obstacle to overcome, and Bush would likely be favored over Rubio within their joint delegate-rich home state of Florida. Considering that Rubio’s chances would be severely hindered by a Bush entry at least in a financial context, the more likely scenario would see Rubio retreating in order to secure a second term to the Senate. His seat comes in-cycle during 2016, which further complicates him making any major national political moves.
It is likely we could see a clear winner in the last outstanding congressional race as early as today. Hand-counted sampling has been completed in the Tucson area congressional district recount in both Pima and Cochise Counties. As you will remember, the 2nd District race ended with Republican Martha McSally finishing 161 votes ahead of Rep. Ron Barber (D). The recount is commissioned to verify the victory.
Because the final result fell within the allotted margin to trigger an automatic recount under Arizona election law, the modified re-tabulation process began as scheduled. It is important to remember that the state has no legal provisions through which candidates can challenge questionable ballots, and the Republican US House will have final say over whether the eventual winner is officially seated. These factors clearly stack up in McSally’s favor.
Under Arizona law, the recount procedure conducts a complete electronic recount of the machine votes, but only employs sampling a series of precincts where the votes are hand-counted (five percent of the precinct universe). The two counties have now finished the process and are expected to release their findings this afternoon. The early reports suggest that the sampling will reveal no variance between the Election Night tallies and electronic recount result. Therefore, expect McSally to soon be officially certified as the victor.
House majority Republicans, already anticipating that she will join the Republican Conference, have appointed McSally to the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, the very panels upon which Rep. Barber currently serves.