By Zeke J. Miller
Republican to watch
Call him Jeb, please. Because his last name is, well, complicated. John Ellis Bush has been busy this spring working boardrooms for cash and backyard patios for grassroots support while introducing himself to voters across the country. The buttoned-up former governor of Florida hopes to attract a new, more diverse generation of voters to a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.
In Tallahassee, Bush developed a reputation as one of the most conservative governors in the country, leading the charge on education reform, pro-life legislation and tax cuts. Now he’s looking to follow his father and brother to the White House on a platform of reaffirming the “right to rise” into the middle class. His administration was among the most tech-forward of his era, and the prolifically emailing pol is plotting to embrace new tools to engage voters in a conversation.
His course is clear, but his path is hardly unobstructed. And so Bush is hiring staff and raising money as he looks to run a “joyful” campaign in a crowded field. It is his first race in 13 years. His fundraising network and his name will take him far; whether it can take him the distance is far from clear. For now, however, he is the Republican to watch.
Miller is a correspondent in TIME’s Washington bureau