Bush races to salvage presidential campaign

Bush races to salvage presidential campaign

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Bush races to salvage presidential campaign

In this Jan. 5, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the New Hampshire Forum on Addiction and the Heroin Epidemic at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Jeb Bush’s U.S. presidential bid is boiling down to early voting New Hampshire, some associates say, while others envision his protracted battle for the Republican nomination stretching deep into the spring.

Either way, supporters and analysts agree it will be difficult for Bush, a former Florida governor and son and brother of two presidents, to emerge as the nominee given American conservatives’ current appetite for anti-establishment candidates and the roiling ethno-nationalism of erratic frontrunner Donald Trump.

Bush launched his campaign as the prohibitive favorite, his main hurdle being overcoming foreign policies of his presidential brother George W. Bush.

Jeb’s team, and a supporting SuperPAC, a fundraising entity allowed to raise an unlimited amount of money, raked in a stratospheric $100 million in early months.

Today his poll numbers are in single digits and other campaigns appear to count him out.

He is mocked relentlessly by Trump, who tweeted on Jan. 8 that new figures showing his rival’s poor favorability were “not good news for Jeb Bush.”  

Despite his command of the issues Bush has appeared stiff and frustrated at Republican debates.

In private, according to one major donor and acquaintance, Bush has expressed exasperation at the state of the race, and how a bullying tycoon with a tenuous grasp of foreign policy has commandeered the primaries.

“He’s said he can’t quite understand this phenomenon,” the donor, who spoke under anonymity so he could discuss the campaign more freely, told AFP.

With Bush running sixth out of 12 Republicans, averaging 3.3 percent in polls, his campaign reportedly has now cancelled television ads in Iowa, which votes on Feb. 1.

Instead he redeployed many staffers to New Hampshire to blanket the state until the Feb. 9 primary, members of his state leadership team said.