Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be announcing later today that he is entering the 2016 presidential race. The announcement comes after roughly six months of his existing as a not-yet-official-but-obviously-running candidate, as Bloomberg Politics reports:
Jeb Bush will attempt to follow his brother and father into the nation’s highest office when he officially announces Monday that he’ll run for president of the United States.
The announcement ends a months-long flirtation that began in December, when the former Florida governor jolted the rest of the potential field by signaling he was serious about running. Bush then unleashed a furious fundraising effort aimed at collecting $100 million in the first three months of the year, leaving little doubt about his intentions...
Bush brings some very real and substantial advantages to the race, but to date they do not appear to have resulted in his becoming the sort of frontrunner that many expected:
He enters the race with many of the usual characteristics of a Republican front-runner. He has the best-known last name, served two terms as governor of the nation’s largest battleground state, and, thanks to his own ties in Florida and the network established by his family, is widely expected to raise the most money of any Republican candidate.
Yet Bush has been unable to separate himself from the other Republican contenders as he's spent the past six months touring the country, raising money, and meeting voters, partly due to concerns that three of the past five presidents could come from the same family. Earlier this month, he hired Danny Diaz as campaign manager, shaking up the staff of a campaign that has not met expectations.
He is also facing doubts from Republican primary voters over his support for easing immigration laws and his early support for the K-12 education standards known as Common Core.
In spite of the early campaign shake-up, there's little doubt Bush has a talented team capable of delivering him the nomination and a general election win. The Washington Post has an excellent article on Bush's campaign team, including his top three political aides:
Sally Bradshaw: Senior campaign adviser. Next to his family, she’s the most trusted person in his orbit. Bradshaw served as one of Bush’s chiefs of staff when he was Florida governor and has spent most of the past year preparing her former boss to run for president. Her biggest asset? She has Bush's total confidence and vice versa. Her biggest weakness? Physical distance. She lives in Tallahassee on her family’s chicken farm and has no plans to move to Miami and work from campaign headquarters.
Danny Diaz: Campaign manager. A Washington native and one-time plumber, he earned the big job last week in a surprise shakeup. At 39, he's a veteran operative who quickly earned the trust of Bush, who recently labeled his new manager "a grinder" -- high praise from the hard-charging governor. Diaz co-founded FP1 Strategies (which stands for "50 percent plus one") with Jon Downs, who will serve as head of Bush's media team (see below). He previously worked for the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the presidential campaigns of McCain and Mitt Romney.
David Kochel: Chief strategist. Initially expected to serve as campaign manager, he will focus first on building support in the first four primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. He was one of Bush’s first and boldest staff hires and helped signal the seriousness of the former governor's ambitions. An Iowa native, he’s advised several GOP candidates for years and helped Romney place a close second in the 2012 GOP caucus...
Bush has been called a weak frontrunner, but that's more a reflection of the deep bench of candidates Republicans are fielding this year than anything else. Still, Bush may have a bigger fight on his hands for the nomination than he thought, which may ultimately benefit him if he emerges victorious but which also diminishes his chances of being the last candidate standing.