Bush Maintains Florida Endorsements As Rubio Surges
In his race for the White House, Former Governor Bush has hit many bumps in the road, so he’s tossing some new tires on the campaign bus. Under the new anthem of “Jeb Can Fix It,” Bush is trying to shake off some of the criticisms that have left him down in the polls. South Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo says he has no regrets about supporting Bush so early.
“No not at all look I supported the candidate that I think is best prepared to be president of the United States and he’s now retooling his campaign. He’s going to relaunch it and looking forward to that,” Curbelo says.
Curbelo says he thinks Bush’s new approach is the right one and can be effective.
“You know they were running an air campaign and now they’re going to start running a ground campaign and that’s if you want to be president I think that’s the way you have to run you know a down to earth campaign where there is a lot of contact with voters where you know the candidate shows that they can do door to door like those of us that run for house seats do,” Curbelo says.
Bush has already secured endorsements from eleven of the seventeen Florida Republicans in Congress, while Rubio only has the backing of one. Bush’s supporters say they aren’t going anywhere. And while Curbelo won’t take a direct shot at Bush’s advisors, he does admit the former governor has gotten some bad advice.
“Yeah perhaps some assumptions were made that were off the mark, but look he’s got name recognition. He’s got the resources that a campaign needs to succeed. People who are writing him off are probably jumping to conclusions it’s too early for that,” Curbelo says.
While Bush is hurting of late, Rubio is feeling momentum pick up. This month Montana Senator Steve Daines and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner tossed their support behind Florida’s junior senator. Senator Gardner says his decision has nothing to do with Bush.
“No. I think this is just about what we need for this country right now. Somebody that understands that every day Americans struggle to make ends meet to afford college and somebody who’s looking forward to an optimistic version of the future and I believe Marco Rubio best represents the ideas, the plan and the optimism that this nation needs,” Gardner says.
Florida Republican Tom Rooney is Rubio’s only congressional endorsement from the state. He also only has nice things to say about Bush, even as he’s firmly behind Rubio.
“It wasn’t a hard choice for me because I know Marco and I’ve never met Jeb I mean I know he was a great governor when he was there but I wasn’t even in politics yet so you know I’m the same age as Marco and kind of politics around the same time,” Rooney says.
But one problem confronting Bush and Rubio, is that they’re behind in the polls to Donald Trump and Ben Carson – even on their home turf. Rooney says that worries him.
“There’s a lot of angst in the vote I don’t think that—you know we keep think that this is going to pass and it doesn’t seem to pass I mean you know even where Marco is rising and Trump is still where he was or you know Carson,” Rooney says.
South Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart says he’s not worried about Trump.
“Look Trump is fun to watch he’s fun to watch and ultimately again I think as people get more and more serious about looking at who has – whose capable and who has the qualifications and the capability and the chances to be president that other folks are going to come up and I think the one who still is very likely to emerge is Jeb Bush,” Diaz-Balart says.
Diaz-Balart also says it’s too early to read into the ups and downs of polls.
“I remember when everybody though McCain was dead and when everybody thought that you know Romney was dead and at this time four years ago I believe Gingrich would have been our Republican nominee,” Diaz-Balart says.
Governor Bush may not be catching fire nationwide, but he’s still got the support of the majority of Florida’s elected officials in Washington. How long that support will hold out is anyone’s guess.