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FITSNews Exclusive – Jeb Bush To Join Sanford in South Carolina September 5, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.

jeb bush 2


FITSNews – September 5, 2007 – Wow.

When we wrote yesterday morning’s piece about S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford finally deciding to gear up for battle against the big government backers in the “Republican-controlled” General Assembly, we had no idea how quickly he would start pulling out the heavy ammunition.

According to multiple sources who spoke exclusively with FITSNews this morning, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will join Sanford this fall on a three-city fundraising swing through South Carolina in support of Reform SC, the political organization that appears to be taking a lead role in the governor’s all but declared war on the legislature.

Citing the text of invitations that were mailed just yesterday, our sources say Gov. Bush’s visit will take place on October 16 and include a breakfast event in Spartanburg, a luncheon in Columbia and a cocktail reception in Charleston, with the three get-togethers expected to raise a combined $1 million.

The younger brother of the President and the first two-term Republican in Florida history, Bush gained international fame during the 2000 Florida Recount controversy and was frequently in the national spotlight as Florida became a hurricane magnet during the first half of the current decade. Backed by unimpeachable fiscal conservative credentials, Bush’s eight years as governor were chronicled in this story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on the day of his departure from office:

Nicknamed “King Jeb,” the Republican transformed what he saw as a tangle of red tape and squanderer of public money into a smaller, business-friendly administration needing fewer tax dollars to run. Bush leaves a legacy of a leader adamant about doing things his way, who fearlessly championed such controversial causes as school vouchers, faith-based prisons and prolonging the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman who became the centerpiece of a national right-to-die battle.

Had it not been for the so-called “Bush fatigue,” tied largely to his brother’s unpopular War in Iraq, many viewed Jeb as among the most promising of all prospective 2008 Republican presidential candidates.

Like Sanford, Bush is a devout policy wonk. Unlike Sanford, however, Bush was able to turn his ideas into accomplishments en route to becoming one of the most powerful and successful Southern governors since Huey Long, albeit on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum.

Bush’s visit will provide a tremendous financial shot in the arm for Sanford’s movement, which also stands to benefit from the $1.8 million the South Carolina governor didn’t spend during his 2006 reelection campaign. Sources also tell FITSNews that Bush’s visit is “one of several high-profile fundraisers” to be planned between now and the 2008 Republican primary season.

Needless to say, a lot of that money will go toward issues advocacy in legislative districts where incumbent Republicans are consistently blocking the Sanford agenda. Because Reform SC is a 501 (c) 4 organization, it is prohibited from running candidate-specific ads directly urging citizens to “vote for” or “vote against” a particular individual, but thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling it can run issue ads referencing candidates in the days and weeks immediately prior to an election.

Of course if Sanford is smart with his money, TV advertising will represent a small portion of his 2008 efforts.

That’s because if various “target lists” floating around Columbia are to be believed, Reform SC will be engaged in numerous, highly-localized “ground wars” that favor direct mail, telephone banks and get-out-the-vote efforts instead of the paid television or radio advertising blitzes typically employed in larger statewide or Congressional campaigns. Some television will likely be necessary given the “clumping” of certain politicians in certain designated metropolitan areas (DMA’s), but the thrust of these campaigns will undoubtedly center around mailboxes, telephones and grassroots networking.

So which state legislators are on the “target list?”

Well, we’ve seen probably a dozen different documents from various individuals professing to be “in the know,” but nothing authoritative is likely to be generated for some time and it remains somewhat unclear which Palmetto political entities/ individuals are ultimately going to be involved in that deliberative process.

Of course it could be we know more than we’re willing to tell you at the moment … and everybody knows Sic Willie has turned into an enormous tease ever since he stopped drinking.

One thing is for certain, however, Bush’s visit is sure to be a major shot across the bow of a Republican-led legislature that has given fiscal conservatives ample ammunition to use against its weaker, more liberal members. Reformers will apparently be able to put their money where their mouth is, and given the well-chronicled excesses of the status quo backers it’s entirely possible that a disciplined, coordinated and well-messaged campaign could achieve significant legislative gains for the emerging Common Sense Caucus.

Stay tuned …



1. SimpsonvilleGuy - September 5, 2007

Mark Sanford has clearly shown that he is unable to lead. Nowhere in his political record has he shown leadership skills capable of moving issues or governmental entities to reform, or innovative action. He talks and talks, but nothing gets done. Then his aides trot out obscure programs or claims that are virtually unverifiable…and we are to believe them, and not our own eyes.
What he has shown is the ability to win HIS elections, and to feather HIS own nest. He has a personal shrewdness and press savvy that has allowed him to win favor with the masses that cannot see his antics while at the same time making him an object of scorn by those that watch him closely.
He is very good at raising money. This is his real power. But will he actually spend it is another matter. That money can be used for a variety of purposes…and I remain unconvinced that he will spend it for anything other than the benefit of Mark Sanford.
Bottom line: He failed miserably to engage the General Assembly. So now his failure is to be cast as theirs…and he continues his rant that everyone is wrong…except him. Without this money, he would be a bad joke.

2. Brandon - September 6, 2007

The Governor is not joke. The people of South Carolina do not think he is a joke. He is right. I admire his tenacity on reform. The legislature is banking on Gov. Sanford finishing his time, and getting on of their own in the office in 2010. The people of the state are banking on The Governor.

3. Finish Line - September 9, 2007

Sanford should use that money in Senate District 25 to support Chris Corley. He is going to win anyway so he may as well get involved in the primary.

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