George P. Bush takes a leading role in Texas GOP

 

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

George P. Bush has signed on to serve as deputy finance chairman for the Republican Party of Texas.

The nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the 36-year-old Bush -- long considered by some as the future leader of the Republican Party -- has been closely watched from his days at law school to his deployment to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.

"I am excited about this opportunity to help the Republican Party here in Texas," he told the Star-Telegram in a written statement. "We have excellent candidates running for office who, once elected, will continue the tradition of making Texas the greatest State in the Union."

Political observers say George P. Bush -- who lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Amanda Williams Bush -- has long been considered a key prospect for the Republican Party.

"Clearly he is being groomed for great things in Texas and perhaps beyond," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "This is about his current visibility, his access to fundraising lists and his name recognition to people who will be on the other end of his fundraising calls."

More than anything, he's a rare commodity.

Son of Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, a Mexican immigrant, George P. Bush has a well-known last name and is an attractive candidate to both white and Hispanic Republican voters.

"He's a big part of the Republican Party's future as they would envision it," Jillson said. "They know that Anglos are a shrinking share of the Texas population and the Texas electorate and Hispanics are an increasing share. ... They'll have to add Hispanic voters to the Republican side, and they hope he will be one of the people who help with that."

Local ties

Known as "P" to friends, he drew political attention when he was 12 and spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention that nominated his grandfather -- George H.W. Bush -- for president. He spoke again four years later for his grandfather's renomination.

He also was involved with gubernatorial races in Florida for his father as well as presidential campaigns for his uncle. This year, George P. will represent the Bush family by attending the Republican National Convention.

George P. Bush co-founded Pennybacker Capital, a real estate private equity firm, and has been involved with nonprofit work such as leading a $30 million capital campaign for Big Brothers Big Sisters in North Texas and chairing the Dallas/Fort Worth Celebration of Reading effort. He's also spearheading an effort expand the Dallas-based charter school, Uplift Education, in Tarrant County.

Dynamic leader

Long involved with the Republican Party, he co-founded Hispanic Republicans of Texas and the Maverick Political Action Committee, efforts to engage Hispanic or younger potential politicians.

"The Bush name is well known to Texas Republicans, and the Bush family has long served the Republican Party," Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri said in a statement Monday. "His joining the RPT team will be a great assistance to us in expanding our donor base, which in turn will provide the party with additional resources to support our candidates and build the party's infrastructure.

"George P. is a relatively young, dynamic, intelligent and articulate leader who I am confident will be part of the new generation of Texas Republican leadership."

Whether his new involvement with the state GOP moves him closer to elected office, that's something only George P. Bush knows.

But even his father said earlier this year that he would like to see his son more involved in the political arena, possibly as an elected official.

"I hope he gets involved. I don't know if he will," Jeb Bush said during a March appearance at the University of Texas at Arlington. "He's a special young man, but I'm biased. I'm his dad."

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