For a guy who is on his way to winning an obscure state office by a landslide, George P. Bush is working awfully hard.
The last month has found the 38-year-old first-time candidate chugging across Texas on a big red-and-white tour bus emblazoned with his dynastic name and his movie-star-handsome face. Two dozen counties. Fifty-four stops. Twenty-two college campuses. Over the course of the entire campaign, 15,000 miles.
George Prescott Bush is the elder son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and his Mexican-born wife, Columba; the grandson of former president George H.W. Bush; and the nephew of another president, George W. Bush.
On Tuesday, he is expected to be elected Texas land commissioner — and to break a family jinx. Going all the way back to his great-grandfather Prescott, a financier and mid-20th-century senator from Connecticut, no Bush has ever won the first time he ran for office.
He also represents an opportunity to rebrand the Bushes. The name remains beloved among old-line Republicans in Texas but stands for everything the ascendant tea party faction believes is wrong with the party. It is also a bit shopworn after two rocky presidencies — though there is the prospect that his father will make a bid in 2016 to be the third Bush in the White House.
“This election is George P. Bush’s coming-out party in Texas politics,” said Mark P. Jones, the head of the Rice University political science department. “George P. Bush views himself as providing the bridge to the future of the Republican Party.”
At the moment, it is a party of warring factions, and George P. has managed to find a place in both camps. He has the DNA of the establishment but was among the earliest to endorse Ted Cruz in the 2012 GOP Senate primary, at a time when hardly anyone thought the tea party favorite had a chance.
“The Texas Republican Party is in many respects like the national party,” Bush said in an interview aboard his bus. “We have different components that all add value in different ways, whether it’s the tea party on fiscal questions, whether it’s the so-called establishment that’s focused on economic development questions, moving states like Texas forward. And you also have social conservatives.”
He added: “I received endorsements from tea party to moderates alike. And I think that’s unique, and that’s something I’m proud of.”
He stands out in another way: In a state with rapidly changing demographics, George P. is the only Republican running for a top statewide office this year who is not a white male, Jones noted. (His grandfather once caused a flap by introducing George P. and his siblings to President Ronald Reagan as “Jebby’s kids from Florida, the little brown ones.”)
Source: Washington Post