Commentary: The next Bush generations jumps into political arena

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramNovember 17, 2012 

The George P. Bush bandwagon is rolling.

But which direction, and how fast?

The Fort Worth Republican, a son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, stirred national interest Friday just by filing the paperwork to run for an office, probably Texas land commissioner.

"With his name and his Hispanic heritage, it's the perfect time for him to take a larger role," said Republican consultant Juan Hernandez of Fort Worth, back from doing election-night commentary on CNN en Español.

"A moreno [dark brown] Bush! What a wonderful combination."

Bush, 36, an investor and business consultant, is just beginning his first term in office. He's a school trustee in his first term on the Dallas-based Uplift charter system board, years away from any national role.

But Republicans want help after Mitt Romney won only 27 percent of Hispanic votes Tuesday.

Back when uncle George W. Bush led " Somos Tejanos" parades, he won 40 percent of Hispanic voters. If the party can't recapture the Bushes' sunny optimism about immigration and Hispanic culture, Republicans won't win.

"It's a positive thing to have something besides old white guys like me on the ballot," current Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told The Associated Press.

Patterson, moving up to run against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, helped persuade Texas Republicans last summer to drop their hard-line immigration platform in favor of a guest-worker plan.

Hernandez said Texas Republicans have proved that "we can pass a new immigration platform and take the first step toward reform."

Bush and Hernandez are both co-founders of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas PAC, which supports candidates, including Tarrant County Clerk Mary Louise Garcia.

"You wouldn't believe how many calls I've had since Tuesday," Hernandez said.

"Conservatives -- some very conservative -- are saying, 'I think we need to take another look at immigration reform.' It finally sank in."

Hernandez led 2008 candidate John McCain's Hispanic voter drive but said Romney's team "never wanted to focus on Hispanic voters." He did help suggest a few ad messages along the lines of "You deserve better," he said.

"I think everybody was surprised at who voted and why," he said.

"We didn't believe young people would vote. They did. African-Americans did. Nobody expected so many Hispanic voters."

Without them, don't expect to win.

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