Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor, suspended his presidential campaign after a poor performance in South Carolina, reports NBC News. While the South Carolina primary results are still coming in this evening, Donald Trump has been declared the winner by multiple news outlets (with over 30 percent of the vote), with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz fighting for second place (both currently coming in at just over 20 percent of the vote). Jeb Bush chose to suspend his campaign when results started coming in and he was only able to pull in just over eight percent of the vote, with over half of the primary vote counted. Ultimately, it proved to be a dismal performance at this stage in the GOP primary race.
Just one year ago, when the 2016 presidential primary ballot was beginning to take shape, Jeb Bush appeared to be the most likely presidential nominee. He ran a well-funded and competitive campaign, and collected massive donations — particularly early on in his campaign. Ultimately, as the Republican Party steers away from “establishment” candidates, their concerns over continuing the Bush political “dynasty” with a third Bush in the White House proved insurmountable for Jeb, who sought to follow his father and older brother into the presidency.
Early on in the now-suspended Jeb Bush campaign, the former governor employed what they called a “shock and awe” strategy. Utilizing that methodology, Jeb Bush and his campaign were able to raise a never-before heard of $118 million in 2015 for his campaign and an associated super PAC, Right to Rise USA. Most of that money was ultimately spent on ads that attacked Bush’s GOP competitors.
“The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign.”
Despite the positive early campaign performance of Jeb Bush, he began to slip in public opinion in spring of 2015. His declining poll numbers seemed to be directly related to his association with his older brother, George W. Bush. During a May 15 interview on Fox News, Jeb Bush told his interviewer that he would have authorized military action in Iraq despite the ultimately flawed U.S. intelligence that led to the Iraq war. After days of media scrutiny, Jeb ultimately retracted his stance, saying that “knowing what we know now” he wouldn’t have authorized the Iraq war.
Despite poll and primary numbers that were increasingly lagging, the Jeb Bush campaign continued to set its sights on South Carolina.
South Carolina has traditionally been highly supportive of the Bush family, and Jeb Bush and his campaign were counting on good numbers in the state. Particularly after his big losses in New Hampshire and Iowa. Unfortunately for the Bush Campaign, South Carolina broke with its establishment tradition and largely supported Donald Trump, particularly in the eastern portion of the state.
It has been reported by the Washington Post that Jeb Bush may have made his decision to suspend his presidential campaign under a bit of pressure from the Republican Party itself. Leaders of the party had reportedly encouraged Jeb Bush to suspend his campaign so that more “traditional” candidates could become more competitive against outsider and front runner, Donald Trump.
The Washington Post also reports that Jeb Bush’s decision to suspend his campaign could have a significant impact on the rest of the GOP primaries, particularly leading into Super Tuesday on March 1. With Jeb Bush out of the race, tens of millions of donation dollars will be freed up for more viable candidates.
Now that Jeb Bush has suspended his presidential campaign, the GOP primary competition is looking more and more like a three party race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. During this campaign season, the GOP ticket has been extremely crowded, with several candidates coming in with only single-digits in the primaries. As the poorer performing candidates drop by the wayside, it remains to be seen if Donald Trump can retain his dominance. The Nevada Republican caucuses are scheduled for February 23, and it a mystery as to what may happen to the race now that Jeb Bush has suspended his campaign.
[Image Courtesy Of Mark Makela/Getty Images]