Published January 11, 2017
His grandfather wasn’t able to do it. Neither were his uncle or his father. In fact, George P. Bush became the first person in his family’s political dynasty to win an election the first time around when he defeated his little-known Democratic opponent, former El Paso Mayor John Cook for Texas’ land commissioner.
Bush, a 38-year-old Fort Worth attorney and energy consultant, raised more than $3 million in his campaign in a state where Republicans haven't lost a statewide race since 1994.
Bush is the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and nephew of President George W. Bush. His father, Jeb, is the former governor of Florida who is considering a White House run in 2016. But none of them – not even the family patriarch and source of George P.'s middle name, long-serving Connecticut Sen. Prescott Bush -- won his first political campaign.
His grandfather lost a U.S. Senate race in Texas in 1964, while his uncle lost his 1978 congressional bid. Jeb Bush was elected Florida governor on his second try, and Prescott, George H.W.'s father, came up short in his first Senate race in 1950.
Texas land commissioner is a little-known but surprisingly powerful post.
“It’s a great beginning and a great position in Texas that deals with a lot of issues,” Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, told Fox News Latino.
The commissioner advocates for military veterans while administering the state's publicly-held lands and overseeing mineral rights for oil and gas concerns. The office also controls revenues from that booming sector that feed the Permanent School Fund, which helps pay for public education costs – a fund that recently surpassed Harvard University's as the nation's largest educational endowment.
The office has in the past led to loftier posts. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was land commissioner before taking over his current job, which he's held since 2003.
Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Texas, says that although Bush is unproven as a politician, the state’s residents are generally welcoming to him.
“People like the idea of a next generation of Bushes in Texas politics,” Jillson told FNL. “He’s seen very positively across the board, by Republicans and Democrats.”
Jillson said, “People know the name, it has very positive resonance in Texas, even more positive than George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush. He’s young, he’s good-looking, but there’s nothing substantive yet about him.”
In terms of his political views, Bush has taken decidedly conservative Republicans stances – sometimes departing from more moderate ones embraced by his father and uncle – such as opposing abortion and same-sex marriage and supporting the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
On the other hand, he has expressed support for more liberal immigration proposals, such as giving undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to legalize their status, and attend public universities paying the same tuition rate as state residents.
Bush speaks Spanish. His mother, Columba, is from Mexico, and his father, Jeb, speaks Spanish fluently. “There’s a lot of pressure on him because he is a Bush,” Aguilar said. “The most important thing is that he does a good job then he can deal with the other political issues.”