As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) aggressively fundraises in expectation of a 2016 presidential race, one college senior is launching a grassroots effort to get millennials onboard for another Bush White House.
Lucas Agnew, a 21-year-old government major at Claremont McKenna College in California, formed his own super PAC in January “Millennials for Jeb” to mobilize youthful conservative activists jaded by the power of big money in retail politics.
“Most millennials are disengaged from the political system,” Agnew told Business Insider, “they see super PACs as tools for the super rich.”
Agnew is from Washington State and is a wide receiver on Claremont McKenna’s football team. With only meager resources to his name and limited time given his student schedule, Agnew has devoted his time and man hours into establishing a social media presence and website to support the effort.
His website solicits donations, encourages supporters to join a volunteer network to form “Millennials for Jeb” chapters on other campuses, and sells “Jeb the Thinker” t-shirts for $US20.
“A lot of millennials are attracted to Jeb since personality wise he is more of an introverted policy wonk whereas his brother was a lot more outgoing and friendly,” said Agnew, who calls Jeb “refreshing.”
Since forming the PAC in early 2015, Agnew has been contacted by 19 college students, one high schooler and one law school student who are interested in establishing groups on their campuses.
“It’s a pretty fair mix geographically and it was a surprise to find there was interest from a high schooler,” he said.
Agnew is 21 and doesn’t have many memories of George H.W. Bush’s presidency (from 1989 to 1993) but thinks people his age are willing to “look past the family name” and will consider Jeb as his own man.
Millennials for Bush isn’t connected with Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC.
Bush’s organisation has its own outreach efforts underway to connect with younger voters, primarily through Bush’s sons George P. Bush, 38, and Jeb Bush, Jr., 31. The pair headlined a fundraiser together last week in Austin, Texas for their father.
Jeb Jr., the only true millennial of the family since he was born after 1980, also headlined a Washington, D.C. event in support of his father for “young professionals” in February and has fundraisers scheduled in Miami and New York this week.
Right to Rise has also enlisted the help of Tim Miller, the digitally savvy former head of the conservative America Rising PAC.
A spokesman for Bush called Miller, 33, “one of the most respected communicators in the nation.”
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