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Making his own way

Jeb Bush’s veins are filled with the modern American equivalent of royal blood.

He is a member of a wealthy family. His father served as both vice president and president. His brother is the current president.

But unlike his father and brother, who relied on an all-American attitude to win their offices, Bush has taken an international path to the governor’s mansion.

Educated at the University of Texas in Latin American studies, Bush worked for the Texas Commerce Bank’s Caracas, Venezuela, office.

In 1980, he moved to Miami where he still resides and made his fortune in real estate development. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, he began public service work. In 1992, he aided in his father’s unsuccessful re-election campaign.

In 1994, Bush ran for governor against incumbent Lawton Chiles. Despite a strong showing, he fell short of taking the office.

In 1998, he beat Chiles’ lieutenant governor, Buddy MacKay, with a revamped message that encouraged job growth and changes in Florida’s struggling education system.

Bush’s re-election campaign has harped on many of the same things he promised to do in 1998. Bush has heavily touted his record on education. In addition, Bush has centered on job growth that occurred during his term.

Bush has also campaigned for the senior citizen vote, saying that he wants to improve medical coverage for the elderly.

His attacks against challenger Bill McBride have been based on the Democrat’s ideas for education reform. Bush has continually questioned where McBride would find the money for Amendment 9, which, if passed, will call for a reduction in class sizes. Bush has been unwavering in his disagreement with the amendment, which could add up to $28 billion.

During the three gubernatorial debates, Bush showed with a relaxed demeanor and ready answers, coupled with McBride’s oft-stumbling answers, that he is the more experienced politician.

However, McBride has, to many, been stronger than expected. Bush has campaigned hard and gotten help from his brother. Today, he will see whether it has been enough or if an upset is in the cards.

Contact News Editor Rob Brannon at