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Laura Washington: Jeb lagging in race for Bush family Triple Crown


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Jeb Bush is no American Pharoah. In fact, he may have lost the post position in the 2016 presidential horse race.
The former Florida governor and Bush dynasty scion jumps out of the gate to announce his long-awaited campaign in Miami.
The political classes have been anticipating a third Bush to take his turn for as long as a bid from that other “inevitable,” Hillary Clinton.
Bush’s big plan: Quietly raise top dollars and line up heavyweight supporters to pump up the aura of inevitability.
It’s not happening.

OPINION


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There is “no true frontrunner” in the race for the 2016 GOP nomination, shows a Fox News presidential poll released June 4.
Bush was tied with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for the lead, with 12 percent. The neurosurgeon and late-bloomer candidate Ben Carson came in second, with 11 percent.
While Bush was nuzzling the GOP big shots, his competition got out on the track early, hard and fast.
Most notably, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, once a Bush protégé, now a dangerous rival.  Florida is a must-win state. The Latino vote is pivotal.
Columba, Bush’s Mexican-American spouse, will be at his side waving the flag.  Bush speaks Spanish, and has bucked his party’s conservatives by backing immigration reform.
Rubio is a Cuban American, fresh face. He is gaining on Bush at home, shows a poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
In March, Rubio polled at 16 percent in Florida, compared to 31 percent for Bush. By late May, Bush had dropped to 30 percent, with Rubio at 24 percent, a jump of eight points.
While Bush has been raising the bucks, Rubio has been bucking the inevitability factor.
About those bucks.  Bush’s super PAC was widely expected to raise $100 million by the end of June, the Washington Post reports.  The Bush machine was hoping the big green would create the perception that the race was his to lose.
Things have changed.
“The exact size of the war chest is closely held, but two individuals familiar with internal discussions believe the total that the Right to Rise super PAC will report in mid-July could be substantially lower than the nine figures that senior Republicans have anticipated,” the Post reports.
Most telling is Bush’s decision to shake up his operation.  Last Monday, just a week before the big announcement, his camp announced a new campaign manager. It got political observers Twittering.
David Kochel, a veteran Iowa player who was supposed to serve as campaign manager, was moved to the position of “chief strategist.” Danny Diaz, a Washington-based communications specialist, was named campaign manager.
The news hit while Bush was in Berlin for meetings and speeches, to show off his international chops.  Instead, he was forced to maneuver through questions from those pesky reporters.
The staffing shifts were “based on the skills of people that I got to know” and the “magnitude of the journey,” The New York Times reported Bush as saying at a press conference.
“It’s June, for crying out loud, so we’ve got a long way to go,” he told reporters.  “I just urge everybody to be a little more patient about this.”’
Diaz is reportedly a slash-and-burn kind of guy.  Bush called his new campaign chief “a grinder.”
By the end of the race, will Bush be dead meat?
Follow Laura Washington on Twitter: @MediaDervish
Email: lauraswashington@aol.com