- The Bush family dynasty in American politics could come to an end on Tuesday.
- George P. Bush, the son of former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, is running for a second term as the Texas Land Commissioner.
- If he loses, it would mark the end his family’s nearly 70-year-old reign in politics.
George P. Bush, the oldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the nephew of former President George W. Bush, is trying to keep his family’s nearly 70-year-old dynasty alive.
On Tuesday, the 41-year-old Texas Land Commissioner is running for a second term against Jerry Patterson, his main Republican primary challenger and a former land commissioner.
If Bush loses, it would mark the end of a dynasty that has seen at least one member of the Bush family in elected office in almost every election cycle since 1952.
The Texas Land Commissioner is the head of a state agency called the Texas General Land Office, which manages the state’s public lands. It’s a coveted position that often serves as a launching pad for ambitious politicians seeking higher office.
The relatively obscure race has drawn national attention as the 2018 midterms begin this month, mostly because it involves a member of the Bush family. But it is also seen as a measurement of establishment appeal in the Trump era.
Mere association with the Bush family name typically used to help candidates running for office. But that started to change in the wake of George W. Bush’s polarising presidency and Donald Trump’s smackdown of Jeb Bush during the 2016 primaries while the two were Republican presidential candidates.
George P. Bush’s campaign for reelection in Texas indicates he realises that fact. Bush, 41, has shied away from holding interviews with the press. As of last month, he had no campaign events listed on his campaign website and hadn’t participated in any forums with other Republican candidates.
Patterson, Bush’s main opponent, has lambasted Bush for sheltering his campaign from public view.
“The guy is cloistered,” Patterson told the Houston Chronicle last month, adding in exaggerated terms that Bush is “kind of like Kim Jong-un – he doesn’t get out much unless it’s in a real secure environment.”
Patterson has also criticised Bush for his handling of a $US450-million remodel of The Alamo historical site in San Antonio.
Nevertheless, Bush has outspent Patterson by a significant margin. By the end of last year, the Bush campaign had more than $US3.4 million in the bank compared to Patterson’s $US95,000, according to Texas Monthly.
And from January 26 to February 24, Bush spent $US2 million for his reelection efforts. During the same 30-day span, the Patterson campaign spent just over $US50,000.
Bush, meanwhile, hasn’t entirely shunned the populist politics that doomed his father’s 2016 presidential bid.
Despite Trump’s repeated attacks against his family during the 2016 race, Bush ultimately endorsed Trump, albeit reluctantly.
“From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” Bush said at the time. “But you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton.”
Last week, Trump returned the favour.
“Texas LC George P. Bush backed me when it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do,” Trump said in a tweet,” and I back him now.”