March 08, 2016

Super PAC that backed Jeb Bush says it will refund $12M to donors

via @adamsmithtimes

Right to Rise, the super PAC political committee supporting Jeb Bush is preparing to refund about $12 million in unspent money to donors who gave at least $1,000. 

"We could not be more proud of Jeb, the campaign he ran, and the hopeful and optimistic message of conservative reform that he communicated throughout this primary for the Republican presidential nomination," CEO Mike Murphy and Finance Director Mason Fink wrote in a letter to donors received this week. "Because Governor Bush has suspected his campaign, Right to Rise USA is now proceeding with an orderly shutdown or activities. Once we have a comprehensive calculation of our remaining resources (including legal and FEC compliance reserves), we will distribute the contribution refunds to our donors on a pro rate basis."

Out of the nearly $119 million Right to Rise raised, a summary included with the letter says $89.8million on "voter contact" of all sorts, $5.98 million on fundraising costs, $3.77 million on polling and data analytics, and $1.17 million on research and political direction. 

It touts, "No open ended commissions. All vendor contracts included fee caps," though cynics about how the money was spent will note that contractors and vendors built their compensation directly into the prices they charged.

Of the TV advertising, Right to Rise says nearly 52 percent went for pro-Bush, nearly 15 percent for "oppose Trump ads," and 33.4 percent for "other candidate contrast ads," aka anti-Rubio, anti-Kasich, and anti-Christie ads.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

February 24, 2016

Jeb Bush attributes loss to 'year of disruption'

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush just concluded a conference call with donors, thanking them for support and loyalty while attributing his loss to "a year of disruption" embodied in Donald Trump.

"I just didn't get the breakthrough I needed in the early states," an apologetic Bush said.

"From the very beginning to the end, I really saw the path to win the nomination in a way that would allow the next president to be a conservative, a reform-minded conservative. But as is always the case in life, there's all sorts of different kinds of outcomes based on the realities, and in this case, the reality was you had a year of disruption, a year of outsiders making a compelling case to people who are deeply disaffected and angry."

Bush said he was back in Coral Gables, sleeping at home and visiting the gym. He said he would work to back a "conservative" but did not mention a candidate.

"I've learned a lot in this process and enjoyed the campaign," Bush said, noting he felt news coverage did not match what he saw and focused on insults.

"For me, it was an incredible joy and an incredible honor and privilege to be a candidate for president," he said.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

February 23, 2016

Jeb Bush cancels keynote for Broward GOP Lincoln Day dinner

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will no longer give the keynote at the Broward GOP's fundraising dinner days before the March 15 primary.

Bush announced he would suspend his campaign Saturday night after the South Carolina primary.

Bush will not attend the Broward Republican Executive Committee's Lincoln Day dinner March 12, Broward chair Bob Sutton said.

Some of the other presidential campaigns have expressed an interest in the event, but none are confirmed. Spokespersons for Marco Rubio's campaign said earlier this week that his schedule for March was not set yet.

Broward has about 240,000 registered Republican voters -- the third largest contingent in the state behind Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties.

The Sun-Sentinel reported the news about Bush dropping out of the dinner earlier today.

Marco Rubio's 'A New American Century' slogan gets makeover en español



How do you say "A New American Century" en español?

If you're Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, you don't. Say it, that is.

Rubio's team used Spanish-language decor Monday at a Miami news conference announcing congressional endorsements. Where English-language signs say "A New American Century," the Spanish ones read, "¡Por Un Futuro Mejor!"

Translation: "For A Better Future."

Jeb Bush's late campaign had an only-in-Spanish slogan too: "Siempre Con Nosotros" -- "Always With Us."

Five memorable moments from covering Jeb Bush's campaign


In no particular order:

A New Hampshire woman asked him about the “electromagnetic pulse” — and Jeb Bush knew what it was

The best justification — perhaps the only one — for making presidential candidates campaign first in small states unrepresentative of the rest of the country is that they give attention to voters’ particular issues, no matter how far out they seem. Candidates must be quick on their feet. And Bush showed he was even before he was a formal contender: “Oh, I know about this,” he told a woman who asked about the “electromagnetic pulse,” a theory about a meltdown in the nation’s power grid. Ever the wonk, he had read about it in The Wall Street Journal.

A South Beach waiter and semi-retired drag queen made him a Paleo-friendly burger

Tommy Strangie was called into Burger & Beer Joint on his day off to prepare the special menu item for Bush: a lettuce-wrapped bison burger with chipotle ketchup, sautéed onions and jalapeños (no bun, no cheese) and a side salad of chopped vegetables with balsamic vinaigrette. Strangie, a Hillary Clinton fan, called Bush a “great tipper” — he left 25 percent. Only in Miami.

His aides stuck around after the deadly Charleston shooting

Bush was supposed to be in Charleston three days after launching his candidacy in June, but he was forced to cancel after a gunman killed nine people at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The venue for his town hall became the site for emergency news conferences instead. And Bush’s South Carolina aides, led by Brett Doster, stuck around — because they had to undo their setup, but also to hand out refreshments they had already paid for to police officers, city leaders and reporters. It was a kind gesture on a day when politics suddenly didn’t seem so important.

Continue reading "Five memorable moments from covering Jeb Bush's campaign" »

An appreciation: Jeb Bush seemed most comfortable in his second language

BMM13 Bush News rk


On what turned out to be the last full day of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, a man with a distinctively English accent stood to ask him a question.

“Can you vote?” Bush interrupted with amusement.

“I don’t think so,” the man responded. “I’ve had the privilege of reporting for the Times of London — ”

“Oh, you’re a reporter, too!” Bush cut in again. (The man was a columnist.)

And then, there in Greenville, South Carolina, Bush said something that left no doubt he was still Miami Jeb: “This is going from Guatemala to Guate-peor!”

I laughed, but few others did. Besides Bush’s wife and son, a Colombian-born voter, and another bilingual reporter present, no one else seemed to get it. From bad to worse, Bush had said — using a Spanish-language colloquialism.

Moments like this made covering Bush’s candidacy particularly endearing for a Miami reporter. When I least expected it, Bush would show flashes of his inner Hispanic — even in places where his biculture couldn’t possibly fit, in a Republican primary year dominated by a front-runner who wants Mexicans to pay for a “beautiful” border wall.

On New Hampshire radio, Bush called his wife, Columba, “mi querida.” A staple of his stump speech involved telling voters, in perfectly accented Spanish, he met her in “León, Guanajuato, Mexico.” His two granddaughters, he bragged, will someday check off “not applicable” as their ethnicity in Census forms — because they’re “Texan-Mexican-Canadian-Iraqi-Americans.”

I looked for that Bush because that’s when he appeared most energized and passionate and raw. “Claro que sí,” he said about going to a same-sex wedding. “Barbaridades,” he said of Donald Trump’s insults.

More here.

Photo credit: Roberto Koltun, El Nuevo Herald

With Jeb Bush out, former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon backs Marco Rubio

via @learyreports

Former House Speaker Dean Cannon is endorsing Marco Rubio.

"The time is now for the Republican Party and fellow conservatives to come together behind a candidate who can lead us to victory in November," Cannon tells the Tampa Bay Times. "We have seen how the country has suffered under the Obama administration, and now we need to spread the word for how we can prosper with a leader like Marco Rubio in the White House. The future of the GOP lies with Marco, and the path to defeat Hillary Clinton begins with him winning Florida and ultimately the nomination."

Cannon had backed Jeb Bush, as did most of the other recent speakers, and current speaker Steve Crisafulli. Rubio on Monday picked up numerous endorsements from mainstream Republicans across the country.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

February 21, 2016

The long unraveling of Jeb Bush's campaign

GOP 2016 Bush (15)


For Jeb Bush’s loyalists, the first moment of palpable panic — and there would be more than they ever expected in the months to come — built over four days last May when their not-yet-presidential candidate struggled repeatedly to utter a one-word answer — No — to an utterly predictable question: Should the U.S. have invaded Iraq?

Bush bungled the response when he was asked the first time. His staff prepared him for the next one. He knew what he had to say. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Couldn’t throw his older brother, former President George W. Bush, under the bus.

W. telephoned Jeb and told him to get over it.

By then, Bush donors and friends had gotten a very public glimpse of what could derail the former Florida governor’s bid for the Republican nomination — and resoundingly end the Bush family era in the GOP.

He was rusty, nine years removed from office and 13 years removed from a campaign. He was unfamiliar with how modern political news works, where four days to fix a mistake comprise an unforgiving eternity. And he was ill-prepared to grapple with the one challenge he knew going in he’d be unable to change: his last name.

“We’ve had enough Bushes,” his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, had asserted in 2013.

Her words, which she later took back, proved to be prescient.

Jeb Bush’s White House ambitions came to a dramatic end Saturday in South Carolina, when a tearful Bush conceded his campaign was over.

Blame a candidate mismatched to his party’s political reality — and a campaign too slow to adapt to it.

More here.

Miami Republican members of Congress who had backed Jeb Bush prepare to endorse Marco Rubio


Miami's current and former Cuban-American Republican members of Congress plan to endorse Marco Rubio on Monday, after having initially backed Jeb Bush.

A public, group announcement is in the works, a Rubio campaign source confirmed to the Miami Herald on Sunday, a day after Bush ended his candidacy in South Carolina.

Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, would all shift their support to the remaining Miami candidate in the GOP presidential race. It's a sign to other Bush backers to let go of any bad blood from the Bush-Rubio rivalry sooner rather than later.

Curbelo had hinted at the endorsement in a tweet Saturday night suggesting he would look for party unity in the wake of Bush's departure.

All four politicians had been careful not to bash Rubio during the campaign, saying they thought Bush was more experienced but Rubio too would make a good nominee. They would serve as prominent Rubio campaign surrogates leading up to the March 15 Florida primary, especially on Spanish-language media.