Bush Approaches New Hampshire: History Calling

Updated at 5:15 pm EDT

Look who’s NEAR New Hampshire.

The former Republican governor of Florida has been making the national rounds this year on behalf of his party’s candidates — while also thinking of making his own bid for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. At first glance, this one looked like Bush was working the Granite State, though the party fundraiser for Brown was in Boston today.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another possible contender and making a successful fundraising run as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, plans his second trip to New Hampshire in two months to raise money for the state party. WMUR-TV in Manchester notes that Christie will appear in a skybox at the Fishercats minor league baseball game July 31, where $2,500 buys a ticket to watch the game with the governor.

The latest WMUR Granite State Poll showed Christie with an early advantage over other potential Republican– and his 19 percentage point lead in a wide field was up 10 points from January, when the “Bridgegate” scandal at the George Washington Bridge was clouding his image.  In October, before all that, he had drawn 16 percent.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has hired a local consulting firm, RightOn Strategies, which includes the former national campaign manager for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2012 campaign. WMUR notes that Michael Biundo, of Manchester, will serve as chief strategist for RandPac’s New England operation.

Not to be outdone on the Democratic side, Ready for Hillary, the independent super-PAC organized to promote the former first lady’s 2016 presidential campaign, has given $10,000 to the state Democratic Party.

New Hampshire also is the summer home of the 2012 Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, whom some are encouraging to make a third run at the White House for lack of stronger candidates. If Romney ran, Bush probably wouldn’t. Even without Romney or Christie in the race, we’re doubtful about Bush running.

If history is any guidance, Bush would have a lot of work to do in New Hampshire.

His older brother, former President George W. Bush, was clobbered in the New Hampshire party primary in 2000. Sen. John McCain beat Bush by 18 percentage points — though Bush, of course, went on to win the nomination and White House. He also won the Granite state in the general election, one of Al Gore’s many stumbles.

The Bushes’ father carried New Hampshire in the 1988 primaries, yet insurgent Pat Buchanan gave President George H.W. Bush a run for his money in the 1992 primary: Bush 53 percent, Buchanan 36 percent. And the president went on to lose election to Bill Clinton. (Then again, Buchanan later carried certain Democratic precincts of Florida with butterfly ballots in that disputed 2000 election that George W. Bush carried by 537 votes.)

For now, Jeb Bush is just doing what a good Republican does, helping raise money for his party’s 2014 prospects — in Boston today

Brown, the former Republican senator from Massachusetts who has moved to New Hampshire to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, has reported raising $2.34 million in the second quarter of the year, with $1.5 million on hand for his campaign.

Shaheen had $5.1 million on hand on the end of the last quarter, with a head start in fundraising. Reports for the second quarter ended June 30 are due tomorrow.


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