Reports of Jeb Bush’s demise are premature, says the man who wrote the book on his tenure as Florida governor.
“As someone who has written about him, what I will say is, he is not a quitter. He is a fierce competitor. I think he’ll fight to the end,” author and University of North Florida professor Matt Corrigan said Thursday.
Corrigan’s “Conservative Hurricane“ is a well-regarded look at Bush’s time in Tallahassee. He concedes that after Wednesday night’s CNBC debate, it’s not looking good for the candidate once seen as the easy establishment favorite.
“He’s in a very difficult spot now. Because most of the media’s written him off. Once you get to that place it’s tough to raise funds.
“Here are the questions for him going forward. One, can he raise the hard money, not the Super PAC money, but money to keep going through Iowa and New Hampshire?
“And two, what is his theory of the rest of the campaign? If Rubio is emerging as the so-called establishment choice, why is Bush any better than that choice? That’s what he needs to determine.”
Corrigan remains far from convinced that Donald Trump or Ben Carson will become the GOP standard-bearer in 2016.
“Frankly, the only bright spot for Jeb is the others in the field. Whether Trump or Carson hold up is a big question. And if they don’t make it, the question is who can? You’re really down to [Ted] Cruz, [Marco] Rubio and Bush. So I think it’s premature to stay he’s done. There’s still no consensus party choice. Why not stay in it? Yes, he’s in a terrible spot, but I don’t think he’s going to go away. He’s just not a quitter. He’ll fight until there’s no chance. And with the current lineup and so many uncertainties out there, he can’t say there’s no chance.
“I’m going against conventional wisdom to say he’ll be around for a while.”