Jeb Bush lends support to Thrasher's campaign in Florida

08/31/2009 7:06 AM

08/31/2009 7:12 AM

It has been a decade since former Gov. Jeb Bush joined forces with then-House Speaker John Thrasher to reduce taxes, legalize school vouchers and generally make life miserable for Florida's mostly liberal trial lawyers.

Now, having capitalized on that success by earning millions as a high-powered lobbyist, Thrasher wants to return to the political arena, and Bush is the key. He stars in pro-Thrasher TV ads that blast the lawyers who are now aggressively trying to defeat Thrasher.

With no Democrats running, the Sept. 15 primary for a state Senate seat is winner-take-all where anything can happen because voter turnout is expected to be low. That means a short, intense campaign heavy on advertising. The result is a titanic and very expensive clash of powerful forces, the Republican old guard vs. trial lawyers. The outcome could have implications in Florida for years.

"John Thrasher had the courage to help me rein in frivolous lawsuits some lawyers depend on," Bush says in the new ad, calling a sustained advertising attack on Thrasher's integrity "wrong."

Because of those attacks, Thrasher's return to the Legislature is anything but assured.

He's one of four Republicans running for the Senate District 8 seat vacated by the death of Sen. Jim King on July 26.

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