Texas votes for George Bush once again
Bush won the office with nearly 60 percent of the vote, AFP reported. The Texas land commissioner, “oversees matters that range from state lands and coastal issues to veterans affairs,” according to the official website ‒ including lucrative mineral rights for oil and gas in the state. The money is used to fund public schools in the Lone Star State.
"Our top job here at the General Land Office is to earn money for the school kids of Texas," outgoing Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in a statement last month, announcing that the oil boom had helped pump a record $1 billion into the fund during fiscal 2014, according to the Texas Tribune.
The 38-year-old is the nephew of former President George W. Bush, grandson of ex-President George H. W. Bush and son of potential presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (George P. told ABC News last month that he believes his father will “more than likely” run for president in 2016.)
“I could not be prouder of George. He ran a great campaign, built his own first-rate team, united a broad and winning coalition and presented a clear vision for the future of Texas,” his father Jeb said in a statement. “He’s going to be an incredible Texas Land Commissioner!”
Bush is a lawyer who has managed an oil and gas investment firm. His résumé also includes a year teaching high school history to at-risk students in Florida, co-founder of a private equity firm (as well as the energy firm) in Texas and a tour in Afghanistan while in the Navy Reserves, according to the Washington Post.
“This election is George P. Bush’s coming-out party in Texas politics,” Mark P. Jones, the head of the Rice University political science department, told the Post. “George P. Bush views himself as providing the bridge to the future of the Republican Party.”
The new Texas land commissioner also serves as a bridge between the establishment GOP and its Tea Party faction. He was among the earliest to endorse Ted Cruz in the state’s 2012 Republican Senate primary.
“The Texas Republican Party is in many respects like the national party,” Bush said in an interview with the Post aboard his bus. “We have different components that all add value in different ways, whether it’s the tea party on fiscal questions, whether it’s the so-called establishment that’s focused on economic development questions, moving states like Texas forward. And you also have social conservatives.”
“I received endorsements from tea party to moderates alike. And I think that’s unique, and that’s something I’m proud of,” he added.
Bush acknowledges the GOP has historically failed to reach out to young people and Hispanics, according to the Associated Press, but he likes to quip, "Those are two groups I know something about. In fact, I am those two groups."
(Bush’s mother, Columba, is from Mexico, and he speaks fluent Spanish. His grandfather once caused a flap by introducing George P. and his siblings to President Ronald Reagan as “Jebby’s kids from Florida, the little brown ones,” according to the Post.)
“I’ve reached out to independents and minorities that have traditionally voted Democrat but that are conservative on a lot of questions,” Bush said. “We talk to young people, folks that typically aren’t voting on a consistent basis. I’m proud of that. It’s unconventional, but it’s something I felt was important, at least to my race.”
The political neophyte received the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle’s liberal-leaning editorial page, which wrote, “If anyone is tempted to dismiss George P. Bush as a political newcomer running on little more than an impressive name, please reconsider. Bush is the real deal.”
The Chronicle’s Jeff Cohen said Bush was “not only the most prepared of the bunch but the most willing to say: ‘I don’t know. I will get back to you’.”
The 38-year-old is the first in his family ‒ dating back to his great-grandfather, Prescott Bush, who served as a US senator from Connecticut for over a decade ‒ to have won his first political race.