After a Republican primary where political futures rose and fell like stocks on the NASDAQ, it seems the political press corps has vetted and investigated every member of the Republican Party's deep bench. From Scott Walker in Wisconsin to Kevin McCarthy in the House, the GOP is flush with talented and innovative lawmakers who are poised to take the country into the future.
However, one future star is still waiting in the wings with bona fides sure that any veteran operative would covet. He boasts a Hispanic heritage long coveted by veteran operatives, instant name recognition amongst donors and deep roots in a big state. No, his name is not Marco Rubio – his name is George Prescott Garnica Bush.
If he does pursue a national profile, 2012 may be read as the year that George P. Bush quietly laid the groundwork to continue in the family business. His involvement in Maverick Pac aka MavPac, a national organization dedicated to supporting young conservatives and Hispanic Republicans of Texas and devoted to electing conservative Republicans of Hispanic heritage in the Lone Star State, seems to provide the first indication that he’s ready to make a move – on his own terms.
Bush is the eldest son of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and the chic pick for any number of roles in the future of the party. His mother Columba, is a first generation Mexican immigrant and active philanthropist.
George P. burst on the scene in 1988, when, at 12, he spoke at the Republican Convention that nominated his grandfather, President George Herbert Walker Bush.
Twelve years later, he generated considerable buzz when his uncle successfully ran for president. Like another political heir, John Kennedy Jr., Bush postponed his political future and chose to attend law school and practice back home before transitioning into real estate investment. Bush also served in the military, deploying to Afghanistan in 2011.
If he is to carry on the family business, Bush will do so with changing Republican Party. Latino voters were a key constituency in his uncle’s presidential victories and both George P. and his father, Jeb, expressed public disdain over the vitriolic statements on immigration that came out of this year’s Republican primary.
Bush speaks about the “personal connection” his family feels with the Latino community and makes frequent appearances on Telemundo and Univision. Those appearances bring him into the homes of what is quickly becoming a “must have” voting bloc. As the Republican Party continues its soul searching on how to handle the immigration issue, and Latino voters as a whole, he is poised to play a key role in the process.
Bush is also seeking to narrow the gap between Republicans and younger voters. In the aforementioned Maverick PAC, which was founded in 2009, he is seeking to bring younger donors into the GOP fold.
The organization has given 20 and 30-somethings the chance to get up close and personal with political stars like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator John Thune and business tycoons like T. Boone Pickens.
Bush recently told The Wall Street Journal that he was seeking to donate roughly $150,000 in races around the country, while growing the group to over 5,000 members. More recently, MavPac threw a series of events starting Bush himself in traditional battleground states like Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Only time and political fortune will tell if George P Bush will take up residence in the White House, but the party’s success will require an ability to adhere to its traditional principles like smaller government, increased economic opportunity and a strong national defense, while developing new voters from non-traditional and emerging constituencies.
Bush has shown he has the knack for developing this new generation of Republican voters; how he uses them to influence the future of the party is one of the great intrigues of political conversations to come.
Joe Brettell is a Republican consultant and former Capitol Hill Communications Director based in Virginia. He is an active supporter of MavPac.