Opinion: Jeb Bush rising, at the cost of Chris Christie

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major. Contact him at rpaolet1@kent.edu.

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major. Contact him at [email protected].

Ray Paoletta

After Chris Christie’s landslide reelection victory, he was all the talk about being nominated for the Republican Party in 2016.Today, the energy around Christie has tapered off and talk about a 2016 Christie run nowhere to be heard.  The lack of enthusiasm for Christie can be attributed to former Florida governor Jeb Bush seemingly pulling ahead in what is called the invisible primary.

The invisible primary is the time prior to the primary election season where party donors, officials, and interest groups begin to align themselves behind potential candidates. When George W. Bush started making his move to the white house, he used a strategy that blitzed Republican political donors and officials to gain an edge early. Jeb Bush has begun to use the same strategy to gain support of powerful Republican players at the expense of other establishment leaning, moderate Republicans like Chris Christie. Many big donors believe that Chris Christie’s inner circle is too tightly nit and this has caused many who have once backed Christie to move towards backing Jeb Bush. The belief is that Christie believes that he can overcome political obstacles because of his charismatic personality.

An example of a Christie backer now supporting Jeb Bush is billionaire donor and owner of the New York Jets Woody Johnson, who attended fundraising events with Bush, who even directly acknowledged Johnson by name. Furthermore, when Christie began his move into politics he received much support from big donors who supported George W Bush’s campaigns.  Jeb Bush is now tapping into the network of supporters of his father and brother who would otherwise possibly back Chris Christie. Jeb Bush’s ability to gain backing from the same players who supported the previous Bush presidents gave him an immediate step up over the rest of the Republican field.

The growing support for Jeb Bush has taken away support from the once favorite to win the nomination Chris Christie. The 2016 Republican field is one that will be filled with those from the conservative wing, while there are few potential candidates from the moderate wing of the party. Right now Jeb Bush appears to be consolidating the support of establishment Republican Party. This, along with the emergence of Scott Walker as a popular alternative to Bush has pushed out Chris Christie’s name as a frontrunner.

Of course, right now, it’s the beginning of March and many things can change by the time primary election season rolls around. However, as it stands today, Jeb Bush is winning the invisible primary and at the same time consolidating the moderate wing of the GOP, which will make it an uphill battle for other candidates like Chris Christie to gain enough support to knock off Jeb Bush.