Tag Archives: Jeb Bush

Flooding the Zone: Ohio Wednesday

Mitt Romney stumps in Ohio tomorrow with a few friends:

In addition to Mitt Romney and John Kasich, the following Republican shoguns will be campaigning in Ohio Wednesday:

  • Bobby Jindal (Columbus)
  • Jeb Bush (Hamilton)

Rob Portman a Smokescreen for Romney’s True Vice President?

The Vice President sweepstakes is a major media parlor game since it is one of the few “new” stories in an election following the primaries and before the national conventions.  We weighed in early for Marco Rubio, but reading the tea leaves it looks like it is not meant to be.  Plenty of trees met their doom as serious reporters wrote small novellas on Rob Portman since he seemed to check all the boxes for a Vice President candidate: does no harm (he’s a known commodity due to his time in Washington), from a swing state (the all-important Ohio), he can raise big money, etc.  At the same time, Rob Portman, for all his competence and accomplishments, does not seem to generate much excitement among the grassroots voters every candidate needs to turn out on election day.

But what if all this Portman talk is a smoke-screen and Romney has a very different candidate in mind? The local Ohio News channel ONN TV thinks that may be exactly what is going on:

Senator Rob Portman has been at the top of ONN’s list of probable Romney VP picks for months. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio’s electoral votes.  Portman, who was elected by a wide margin in 2010, has a resume that compliments Romney’s economic message. Portman was in Boston Monday and he reportedly met with Beth Meyers, who is in charge of vetting Romney’s possible running mate. Some skeptics think it’s more likely Romney is using Portman as a smokescreen and will instead announce a “surprise pick” before the GOP convention in August.

Who could be the surprise?

  • Susana Martinez, the first female governor of New Mexico. Her strength is that she could help Romney with the latino vote and win the state’s five electoral votes. But like former governor Sarah Palin four years ago, she’s only been in office for two years.
  • Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas. A familiar face, he ran for the GOP nomination in 2008. But his association with FOX News may make him seem too partisan for the ticket.
  • Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State. She’s a favorite of many neo-conservatives, and polls high among Republican voters. But her service in the Bush administration could make her toxic with Independents.
  • Jeb Bush, former Florida governor. No one knows the stigma of the Bush years more than Jeb who is popular among more moderate Republicans. But it seems unlikely the Bush name will be on the ticket, at least for another four years.
  • Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky. Yes, he’s the son of Romney nemesis Ron Paul. One way to appease the libertarian-leaning faction of the GOP, who will be a vocal minority in Tampa, would be to put a Paul on the ticket. But he’s a political newcomer and there is enormous mistrust of Ron Paul’s views among evangelical and social conservatives.

Romney could make the announcement of his running mate next week before he leaves to attend the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. ONN’s moderator of Capitol Square Jim Heath says the announcement is more likely the week of August 13th, after the Olympics conclude and before the start of the Republican National Convention on August 27th.

Battleground Counties: Hillsborough County, Florida

One of my favorite topics this election season are the Battleground Counties that will truly decide this election.  We’ve covered a few of these so far and here is an extensive look at one of the more important players due to the electoral votes at stake: Hillsborough County, Florida which includes Tampa, home of the Republicans National Convention this year.  Travelers advisory warning: this write-up is full of a lot of great data.  But the author veers off into wholly inaccurate information and some partisan opinion writing when it comes to Obama’s organizational operation in the state.  It’s unfortunate because these inaccuracies and biased rhetoric mar what is otherwise a great look at an all-important Battleground County:

In 2008, Hillsborough became the only Florida county that had backed Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 to flip to Barack Obama. A surge of minority voters, young people, and independents helped Obama wring 68,000 more votes out of Hillsborough than John Kerry had, propelling him to a 7-point victory over Republican nominee John McCain in the county. How closely divided is Hillsborough? Of the 1.95 million votes cast in presidential elections since 1992, Republican nominees won only about 14,000 more than Democratic nominees. The outcome in the Tampa Bay market has run within 2 percentage points of the statewide result in every presidential election since 1992. The campaign here will pit Obama’s organizational power and his capacity to take advantage of the region’s shifting demographics against Romney’s message of fiscal prudence, backed by the state’s all-powerful GOP establishment, and played against the backdrop of a still-sputtering local economy.

How South Florida’s eastern and western counties achieved their ideological split

Liberal Northeasterners headed south on I-95 to Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, turning South Florida into a Democratic stronghold, while folks from Michigan and Ohio took I-75 to Florida’s west coast. The influx bestowed on Hillsborough County a Midwestern sensibility that’s more practical than ideological.

Fiscal conservatism in the county

In one obvious sign of the county’s penny-pinching mind-set, tea party activists help lead a successful battle in 2010 against a 1-cent increase in the sales tax to pay for light rail and other transportation projects in the county. The Democratic nominee for governor that year, Alex Sink, hailed from Hillsborough County but won here by only 10,000 votes. That slim margin of victory helped Republican Rick Scott, a former corporate executive who promised to create 700,000 jobs in seven years, narrowly win statewide.

Continue reading