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Jeb Bush is Down—but is He Out?

Jeb Bush is Down—but is He Out?

“I’m not getting out.”

In response to pressure from donors, Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign is downsizing, starting with a whopping 45% budget cut (exclusive of cash earmarked for TV buys and voter contact via phone calls, mailers, and other avenues.) The campaign has also cut its payroll by 40%; some senior staff will stay on on a volunteer basis, while some junior staffers and consultants will be let go entirely. Bush has also opted to downsize his Miami headquarters and shift more resources into New Hampshire, where he is currently polling in third place.

More from Bloomberg:

One Bush adviser told Bloomberg Politics in an interview Friday morning that the team was “unapologetic” about the changes, saying the moves were from a “position of strength.” “This is about winning the race,” the adviser said. “We’re doing it now and making the shifts with confidence. We expect to win.”

Bush plans to continue to focus on a core message that argues that he has experience to make the kinds of fundamental changes voters want to see in Washington. The campaign changes reflect that, an adviser said.

The campaign claims to have the most extensive field operation in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, states with the first four nominating contests. Bush had $10.3 million available for the primary race as of Oct. 1, about the same as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, but less than U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson. Right to Rise USA, the super-PAC being run by Mike Murphy, raised $103 million in the first six months of the year.

Still, Bush hasn’t given up. This weekend he’ll bust out the big guns—in the form of his father, brothers, and sons—and attempt to woo the deep pockets of family friends in Texas.

From the Texas Tribune:

Jeb Bush’s father and brother — former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively — will be on hand over the weekend in Houston to thank the campaign’s top bundlers. Also expected to attend are Jeb Bush’s two sons, Jeb Bush Jr. and George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner. Jeb Bush bundlers who raised a certain amount — at least $50,000 by some accounts — were expected to attend the gathering.

Via email, Jeb Bush’s campaign is also asking supporters to give $1 or more to be entered for the chance to travel to Houston next week and meet George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. The campaign described the contest as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you’ll be talking about 20 years from now.”

Taken together, the string of finance events serve as a reminder that Jeb Bush’s fundraising machine in Texas is still heavily reliant upon a family network with deep ties to the state. The flurry of campaign activity in Houston comes about two weeks after Jeb Bush’s campaign voluntarily released a list of its top 342 bundlers, 38 of whom are from Texas. They include many names already associated with the Bushes in the Lone Star State: former state Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas, Tyler oil and gas attorney Gaylord Hughey, El Paso real estate developer Woody Hunt, Houston pipeline tycoon Rich Kinder and his wife, Nancy, Texas congressman-turned-lobbyist Tom Loeffler, Fort Worth philanthropist Kit Moncrief and Warren Tichenor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

According to the Trib, Bush will appear at a variety of additional fundraising events early in the week, and is already planning stops next month in the big money cities of Midland and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Earlier this week, Megyn Kelly asked Bush, “What would it take to make you get out?” Bush’s answer was confident, but he did admit that it hasn’t been an easy time.


“I’m not getting out. I believe we have a plan to be very competitive in the early states. We have the resources to stay with this,” Bush told Kelly. “I’m campaigning hard, I’m campaigning with heart, I’m campaigning in a way that will draw people towards our cause.”

“This is the beginning of a hard race. I never thought it would be easy and it certainly hasn’t been. … I believe that I’m gonna win the nomination,” he said.

Bush went on to rebuff questions on Donald Trump’s steady popularity.

A quick scan of my Twitter timeline soon after this was announced told me that the majority of the chattering class sees this as a death knell for a campaign that, at least in my opinion, probably never should have launched. I’ve been in a room with Jeb Bush on multiple occasions; I’ve seen him in his element. Based on that previous knowledge, nothing I’ve seen so far this cycle has convinced me that Jeb Bush wants to be president.

Unfortunately for his supporters, it looks as though the campaign world has finally caught on to that fact.

You can read a full rundown of the changes to Bush’s campaign here.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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Was the entire “campaign” just a ruse for gathering big bucks to pay themselves huge salaries, finders fees, media fees, cuts, kickbacks, and salaries until the scam ran its course? It sure looks like it. When did someone tell Jeb? And was it his mother?

cantor4massat4 | October 24, 2015 at 7:48 am

He’s just throwing good money after bad at this point. But what does he care? It isn’t his money. He can’t even run a good campaign yet he thinks he can run this country.

Henry Hawkins | October 24, 2015 at 9:13 am

The Bush dynasty is ended. Now it’s time to end the Clinton die nasty.

    cantor4massat4 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | October 24, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Let’s hope that it ends. My husband watched the hearings, going back and forth between CNN and Fox. He said CNN was saying how well she was doing and Fox the opposite. If it weren’t for the Internet, blogs, social media, we would know very little of what’s really going on.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to cantor4massat4. | October 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

      When the likes of moronic uber-liberal Tamara Holder, Sean Hannity’s token liberal, admit they cannot abide Clinton due to her lying and other pathologies, you can rest assured the damage Clinton has done to herself runs deep into her would-be base. All this media bullshit coronating Clinton is not for the general public – it’s to salvage her own base.

        The Dems are really going to have to go to their base on this one, the dead, illegal aliens, convicted felons, fake voters, stolen ballots, and computer voting malfunctions. They’ll need the New Black Panthers at every polling place to intimidate legal voters.

A great public service would be for both Jeb! and T-rump to get out.

They can both play “wise old man” of American politics after that, and contribute whatever actual good ideas they might have, without screwing over the country.

“I’m not getting out.”

No, Juan Ellis Bush, you’re being ushered out.

Jeb please go, just go away!

Old tired worn out ideas that have been pushed over and over!
If Jeb would be the Republican choice it is a guaranteed loss!

Single digit in the polls? You are done!
The grassroots movement wants nothing to do with you.

Jeb was never in. Bush was toast before Trump ever entered the race. Rarely have I seen a major candidate so badly misread the electorate entering a race. Remember ‘shock and awe’, Jeb’s supposed first round knockout because of all the donor money he got? It turned into schlock and awwww real damn quick. Each big donor gives a lot of money, but only one vote each. Small donors give a little money each, but bring a lot of votes. Nobody has collected less small donor money than Jeb. Mommy Bush was absolutely right when she said Jeb shouldn’t run because he’ll draw every Bush family enemy but only half their friends.

A lot of things can and will happen but my bet is that Rubio will be the nominee. He’s been very prudent with his money and will peak at the right time.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Mercyneal. | October 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    See above.

    Barry in reply to Mercyneal. | October 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t think it will be Rubio-the-liar, but if it is, Shrillary is the next POTUS. Fewer conservatives will vote for Rubio than Romney.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Barry. | October 24, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      But more independents will vote for Rubio. Rubio is acceptable if one isn’t appalled by his Gang Of 8 betrayal, that is, if one isn’t conservative, and has about 10 times the charisma as the wooden Romney, who comes off as a talking Sears mannikin.

      I won’t vote for Bush or Trump under any circumstances. Rubio is someone I’d begrudgingly vote for while holding my nose – in a vise.

      Carson is only now attaining sufficient polling to attract heat. Trump denigrated his religion today, denigrated the entirety of 7th Day Adventism just to get a dig in on Carson. Boorish in the extreme.

      I grew up in the same general area of Detroit as did Carson, who is four years older than me. Knowing from whence he came, I am impressed by his personal story, but I need to see how Carson does under fire before I get a feel for him.

      That’s a general concern I have about so-called ‘outsider’ candidates. Expertise and achievement outside of politics doesn’t necessarily translate into success in politics. The political inside game is extremely rough, especially on the national level, and played differently than business, medicine, etc. It is so nasty I wonder if honest, moral people can navigate and succeed in it. Indeed, the state of our country and our government strongly suggests they cannot, hence the creeping rot.

        We’ll see. Rubio is at 9% currently. If bush drops out and all his support goes to rubio, he is still behind trump and carson. I don’t see it. And I know he is hated by a lot of conservatives, more so than anyone else in the race, including bush.

        I like carson personally, and his story is a great one, but I do not see him getting the nomination. I think he has topped out where he is. I do see him as the VP pick.

        Who has a serious chance left?

        I only see trump, carson, rubio, and maybe cruz. I don’t see the path for cruz now. I think he had to get some momentum early after his own party spent so much trying to marginalize him. That leaves three. Deals may determine the outcome. Maybe cruz can partner with carson. One can hope.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Barry. | October 25, 2015 at 12:24 pm

          Bush’s Waterloo will be the Florida primary in March. When/if Rubio wins, Bush is out, and Rubio will get a sizable bump.

          But I agree with ‘we’ll see’. Way early yet and so much can happen.

          Barry in reply to Barry. | October 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

          “When/if Rubio wins, Bush is out, and Rubio will get a sizable bump.”

          As I said, if all of bush’s support goes to Rubio, he still is behind.

          And if the current leader in Florida wins?

        Mercyneal in reply to Henry Hawkins. | October 25, 2015 at 9:03 am

        Last night Trump referred to Rubio as “sweaty.” Childish and classless. These kinds of comments do NOT endear Trump to registered Independents like me. Debate should be interesting on the 28th

        The candidate that can pull the most independents and the mist democrats is Trump. It seems that 70r of gop voters agree on that.

        WASHINGTON (AP) — 70% of Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.

Sammy Finkelman | October 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Bush reducing his campaign spending is a good sign for him, but he should have done it sooner. He’s not going to collect a lot of contributions until he starts doing better in the polls or in primaries or caucuses. He could hold out until other candidates start dropping out.

Jeb Bush also has deficiencies, but they are less than those of Mitt Romney.

Carson should rise and Trump fall, and he will not be destroyed before Iowa, like Herman Cain was, because he doesn’t have that kind of vulnerability, but he has the problem of possibly not knowing things, which is really bad for a Presidential candidate.

Rubio has tried really hard now to familiarize himself with all kinds of things and avoid that vulnerability.

Bush just isn’t smart enough to know he is done.