Only in this year’s bizarro world of Republican presidential politics can a loss be celebrated as a win. First it was Marco Rubio’s third place finish in the Iowa caucus. Now it is Jeb Bush’s fourth place finish in the New Hampshire primary.
Bush donors and fundraisers were practically giddy with Jeb’s showing in New Hampshire, saying their man has finally found his footing in the chaotic contest otherwise known as the Republican presidential race.
The Republican contest now moves on to South Carolina, which holds its primary on February 20.
“He needed to be in the game, and last night, he was able to do so,” said Barry Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican chairman, now Bush fundraiser. In speaking of Donald Trump’s first place finish in New Hampshire, Wynn went on to say, “I don’t think (Trump) sells well in the south.” And even though Trump tops the polls in the Palmetto State, Wynn said, “You may find that South Carolina corrects some of the mistakes of New Hampshire.”
Much like Hillary Clinton views South Carolina as her firewall, which in her case means coming in first, Jeb is also looking to do well in next week’s primary. But what that actually means for the Bush camp is hard to say. Does Jeb need to win? Come in second or third?
Bush may be helped by the departure of Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina from the race. It is unlikely voters who had supported either candidate will now move to Trump. The odds are those supporters will back one of the establishment candidates.
Jeb has a strong organization in South Carolina, which backed his brother George W. in 2000. The former president is still well-liked in the Palmetto State. The Bush camp started airing a radio ad yesterday featuring George W., and Jeb is also relying on the support of the state’s U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham.
In this crazy Republican presidential race, the establishment may still get their man, Jeb, as their party’s nominee. Bush has the money; the organization; and the backing of his beloved brother to actually come in second or third behind Donald Trump in South Carolina … which in Republican-speak would be a resounding victory.
You never know. We might get a Clinton v. Bush contest after all.
Photo | telegraph.co.uk