His continued popularity in the polls and crossover appeal to Democrats and independents alike belies the fact that the former Governor of Florida has been out of elected office for more than six years, and last participated in an election for public office more than ten years ago.
His perceived rustiness, however, is not his biggest problem. The enduring unpopularity of the Bush brand continues to plague him, and is seen by many as one of the major reasons why he did not partake in the 2012 presidential election, despite persistent calls of many in the party. Perhaps the prospect of being identified with his brother, former president George W. Bush, proved to be too strong a deterrent.
Often described as the “smart one” in the George H.W. Bush clan, Gov. John Ellis Bush had an admirable record as governor. The moderate Republican, nicknamed King Jeb for his aggressive leadership of the state government, is mostly remembered for his widely-praised education reform that halted the decades-long downward spiral that the state had been experiencing.
Gov. Bush, who as a young man was a conservative ideologue, will be 64 in 2016, making this likely his last real chance of contesting for the presidency. One thing is for certain though; a Bush run will guarantee an easy sweep of Florida’s 29 electoral votes.