At first glance, George Prescott Bush seems the ideal political candidate in a state where his family has been a powerful dynasty for decades.
The telegenic lawyer from Texas is a grandson of the 41st US President George HW Bush, and the nephew of George W. Bush, the 43rd. He is the eldest son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the great-grandson of United States Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut. The war veteran, father of two, married to blonde lawyer Amanda Williams Bush, is also Mexican-American on his mother’s side and speaks fluent Spanish.
But that might not be enough, say critics who accuse him of being the black sheep of the family and disrespecting the Alamo, Texas’ most treasured symbol, by appealing to modern minds for his restoration.
On Tuesday, Bush, 45, and incumbent Ken Paxton defeated two other Republican candidates vying to be the party’s pick in the race for attorney general.
Now, a critical runoff in May will determine whether the fourth-generation scion will be able to solidify the family’s political legacy in the Lone Star State, analysts say.
But that’s another problem: “The name Bush is no longer popular in Texas,” Luke Twombly, a Dallas-based political consultant and former communications director for the Republican Party of Texas, told the Post.
Paxton, the Texas attorney general since 2015, was charged with securities fraud and charged with bribery and abuse of power in a civil whistleblower lawsuit, but still has support from state conservatives . He also has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump — a situation Bush hopes to reverse by invoking Trump in his campaign ads, which don’t mention titans in his own family.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, our country was once again strong and vibrant,” Bush said in a campaign video. Elsewhere in the ad, he notes, “Like President Trump, I will not sit idly by while our freedoms are under attack because Texas must lead the way in the fight against this radical agenda.”
If Bush tries to capitalize on his devotion to Trump, his opponents hope to end the Bush family’s political dominance in Texas, which began after George HW moved with his wife, Barbara, from Connecticut to the Lone Star State in 1948. to work in the oil business.
“If conservatives unite…we can end the Bush dynasty,” Paxton told a Lubbock radio station on Wednesday. “The Bushes had their chances. It’s time for the dynasty to end.
Bush, the commissioner of the General Land Office in Texas, has faced heavy criticism from Democrats and fellow Republicans for his work restoring the historic Alamo site. It also came under scrutiny for administration by its veterans homes agency, where the COVID death rate was 25% at seven of nine facilities – more than double the rate at the others. state nursing homes at the height of the pandemic.
In his eagerness to seek Trump’s approval, Bush has broken with members of his own family, becoming the black sheep of a clan that has little patience for Trump’s grip on the Republican Party.
“I can’t imagine George P. getting much love from his family in pursuit of Trump’s endorsement,” Twombly said.
Although he likely needs Trump’s endorsement to win the race, others say Bush doesn’t have the same leadership genes that propelled his inner circle to political victory.
“Well, maybe he’s not exactly a black sheep, but Bush isn’t the guy,” Jerry Patterson, Bush’s predecessor at the General Land Office, told the Post. “I knew 41 and 43, and Bush is not a guy who’s a leader. He’s a pretty decent guy, but if you want someone to make tough decisions, he’s out of place. He avoids the polemic, lower your head.
As commissioner of the GLO, he played fast and free with the Alamo, the state’s holiest historic site, he added. Patterson was so furious with what he called Bush’s lack of transparency and clumsiness in the monument’s restoration that he decided to run against him to get his old job back in 2018.
When Patterson lost to Bush in the Republican primary for commissioner, he decided to support Bush’s Democratic opponent, Miguel Suazo, in the race for commissioner. He was not the only one.
“Never in my memory have all the main opponents of a Republican candidate either endorsed the primary winner’s Democratic opponent or publicly stated that they would not vote for the Republican primary winner,” Patterson said. .
In addition to Patterson, the main losing Republican opponents in the race – Rick Range, Davey Edward and David Watts – have all refused to support Bush.
“There are things that are more important than your party,” said Patterson, who led the GLO from 2003 to 2015. “The Alamo is Texas.”
Critics of Bush’s work on restoring the site, which will include a new museum with a rooftop garden, include a lack of transparency and the hiring of a Philadelphia design firm that suggested incorporating walls modern glass.
“Calling in all these so-called out-of-state experts who knew nothing about the Alamo, nothing about what it means for Texas” was Bush’s first mistake, according to Range, a firefighter. retired, in an interview with the Texas Monthly.
“He can’t be trusted with the future of the Alamo,” Range told the magazine. “It has flip-flopped more times than a catfish washed up on the bank of a river.”
Despite the criticism, Bush prominently features images of the Alamo in his campaign ads, which also include several references to Trump’s domestic political greatest hits.
In his latest commercial, Bush reminds viewers that he is a former Navy officer deployed to Afghanistan and promises to end “Trump’s wall.” He is filmed in dark glasses driving an all-terrain vehicle in the shadow of the wall that separates the southern border with Mexico.
“It’s so bulls-t,” Patterson said. “Every cursed politician talks about the wall, but the attorney general has no impact on closing the border. It’s all bulls-t. That’s almost what you have to do if you’re a Republican in Texas.
Yet Patterson, like others, is reluctant to disbar Bush just yet.
“Do I think he has a chance?” he said. “I think he has a chance.”
The campaign and Bush’s spokesperson did not return calls and emails from the Post on Thursday.