SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - George P. Bush, a son of a governor and a nephew and grandson to U.S. presidents, has filed to run statewide in Texas, the latest member of the powerful political family to seek elected office.
Bush, 37, the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Mexican-born wife, Columba, is seen by some as a transformative figure - a Hispanic candidate for a Republican Party that wants to appeal to the growing and increasingly influential electorate of Latino voters.
Bush filed on Tuesday to run for Texas Land Commissioner, a position which, among other duties, manages the Alamo in San Antonio - a symbol of the often contentious relationship between Mexicans and Anglos in Texas. The current land commissioner is running for lieutenant governor.
“This certainly helps the Republican Party present an image of a party that not only seeks Hispanic votes but is running Hispanics for office,” Mark P. Jones, a political analyst at Rice University in Houston, told Reuters.
“This is clearly beneficial in Texas, because every other Republican candidate for a non-judicial statewide race in 2014 will be a white male,” Jones said.
Bush, a lawyer and co-founder and chairman of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, is married to Amanda Bush, who is also a lawyer. They live in Fort Worth, Texas, with their son.
According to his campaign biography, he clerked for a federal judge and afterward joined the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
He is a member of the Naval Reserve and founder of a Fort Worth-based investment firm, St. Augustine Partners, which focuses on energy and business consulting, and a co-founder of Pennybacker Capital, a real estate private equity firm.
Cal Jillson, a political analyst at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Bush was in a unique position for a long and successful political career as nephew of President George W. Bush and grandson of President George H.W. Bush.
Jillson said Bush could serve a term or two, and then maybe run for Congress or governor.
State Representative Jose Menendez, a Democrat, said the idea that Bush’s candidacy might convince more Hispanics to vote Republican was “insulting” and no one person could attract Hispanics to any party.
“I think the Hispanic community is not a monolithic community, it is a community that is independent,” he said.
Menendez said Hispanics, like many other voters, support “policies over personalities.” Jillson agreed.
“There will be a few people who are attracted to Bush personally due to his connection to Hispanic Texas, but there will be just a few,” Jillson said.
Rice University’s Jones said a prominent Hispanic candidate with a popular name won’t help if the Republican Party is shooting itself in the foot. He noted that a young conservatives group at the University of Texas canceled plans this week to hold a mock roundup of illegal immigrants.
“But where it may help is in recruiting and running credible Hispanic candidates, something the party has not done a good job of in recent years,” Jones said.
Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by David Bailey and Gunna Dickson