Now that Florida Senator Marco Rubio is arguably a tier-1 candidate, former Governor Jeb Bush is aggressively lining up the endorsement of the state’s GOP power base behind his candidacy. The move is strategic. For starters, Rubio is surging, but has not yet ensconced as a viable candidate for the party’s nomination for the time being. As such, the lawyer Sam Tabar suggest Rubio’s main source of support in his home state of Florida. If Bush can get the party’s power brokers behind his candidacy, he may well starve off his rival of much needed support.
Thus far, it appears that Bush is well on his way to making the case why he alone is Florida’s choice for the nomination. He now has the endorsement of 11 members of the state’s 17-strong GOP congressional delegation. In addition, his formal campaign launch featured three key members of the current governor’s administration: Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bush even got the endorsement from former Sen. George LeMieux.
At the same time, Bush is careful not to criticize Rubio. The two candidates are longtime friends and admire one another. Still, Bush, age 62, is stressing the one word that distinguishes him from Rubio: experience. The charge that Rubio lacks the experience to become president is something the 44-year-old first-term senator may find difficult to answer. With many Republicans voters believing that the Obama presidency has been a failure, they want someone with experience to turn the country around.