Jeb Bush

From the Herald archives: All in the family: George Bush’s son seeks party post

Jeb Bush, son of Vice President George H.W. Bush, speaks as Alicia Calatraua listens in a Miami restaurant in an undated photo from the 1980s.
Jeb Bush, son of Vice President George H.W. Bush, speaks as Alicia Calatraua listens in a Miami restaurant in an undated photo from the 1980s. MIAMI HERALD FILE

It looks as if both Jeb Bush and his father will be running in 1984.

Vice President George Bush is expected to be on the national Republican ticket again with Ronald Reagan. Should Reagan decide not to seek reelection, Bush is almost certain to run for the top job himself.

Jeb? His ambitions are a bit more modest.

He said Saturday he’d like to become chairman of Dade’s Republican Party.

Bush, 30, who has worked in a downtown Miami real-estate development firm called IntrAmerica Investments for two years, was appointed to the Dade GOP Executive Committee early this summer.

He said he plans to seek a full term on the executive committee when Republican voters select their committee members at the March 13 presidential primary. And he wants to be elected chairman by the committee’s 159 other members shortly after that.

He’s been soliciting support from other committee members for several weeks, he said, in hopes of succeeding current party Chairman Roberto Godoy. Godoy has announced he’s giving up the chairmanship to seek the job of county Republican state committee member.

Bush will have to face at least one other announced hopeful for the chairmanship — Santos Rivera, a Cuban-born furniture manufacturer.

Not surprisingly, the younger Bush said he’d like to be party chairman because he’s interested in politics.

“I have a belief that party politics is important, and if one wants to make a contribution, the chairmanship would be a good place to do it,” he said.

Although she must remain impartial in the race, GOP state committee member Mary Collins said she thinks Bush will be a good candidate. “He’s a very attractive young man who certainly is well known.”

And, she added, “he’s bilingual and that would be nice.”

Bush himself, who has traveled and worked in South and Central America, said he hopes he can bridge divisions in the local party between conservative Latins and Anglos.

“I think it’s important to be sensitive to those groupings, although I don’t think there are tremendously deep splits there,” he said. “There’s a diversity in terms of the ethnicity in the Republican party, but the basic ideology of the people is the same and has kept them together.”

Bush said he didn't consult his father before he made the decision to run for the chairmanship, but he has since informed the vice president of his plans.

“He seemed pleased,” Jeb said. “We have a very good family in the sense that we’re allowed to do our own thing.”

A White House spokeswoman later said the vice president “wishes Jeb well, and he thinks he’ll do a good job because he’s an outstanding young man.”

The elder Bush “certainly” didn't need to be consulted, she added. “He feels that all his children are all grown, and they’re all independent, and they’re all free to pursue their own interests.”

Jeb Bush said if he wins, he expects the chairmanship “is going to take a lot of hard work, especially in 1984.”

But don’t read that as a lack of confidence in the national GOP ticket.

“I think the party will do very well with President Reagan at the top of the ticket,” he said.