Jeb Bush Will Star In Several Thrasher TV Commercials
The Republican primary battle for State Senate District 8 has pulled former Gov. Jeb Bush off the couch and before the cameras to help longtime ally John Thrasher.
Bush has shot three television spots for Thrasher, who is embroiled in a suddenly fierce primary battle for the seat formerly held by late Sen. Jim King.
Thrasher was House speaker during Bush’s first two years as governor. During those years, Bush successfully pushed through the Legislature the bulk of his political agenda, including the nation’s first statewide voucher program, civil justice limits and more than $1 billion in tax cuts.
“I used to call him Elvis and myself Col. Parker,” Thrasher said of his relationship with Bush. “Now maybe I’m Elvis, I don’t know.”
The District 8 race has emerged as a major TV campaign. The first spots began airing last week paid for by an organization called Stop Tax Waste, Inc., a so-called 527 group which Thrasher and supporters say is allied with the trial bar lobby.
The organization’s president, T.J. Harrington, told the News Service of Florida that the ad was paid for by conservatives unhappy with the Legislature’s free-spending during the Thrasher era, although he conceded that trial lawyers could be among the contributors.
The ads appeared within two days of former Rep. Stan Jordan’s entry into the Republican primary field. Jordan, who had been backed by trial lawyers during his eight years in the Legislature, is leaving his Duval School Board post to run.
Thrasher, a former Florida Medical Association lobbyist, responded to the ads with biographical TV spots. The first Bush ad may air as soon as this week, he said.
The special election primary is scheduled for Sept. 15. There are no Democrats running yet, but a general election would be held Oct. 6.
Also in the race are City Councilman Art Graham and businessman Dan Quiggle. Harrington said Stop Tax Waste is not supporting any individual candidate.
The former governor did cut a Spanish-language TV ad for Republican presidential nominee John McCain last Fall. But Thrasher’s spots are the first he's done since then, and represent a rare entry into a legislative race by one of Florida's most-beloved Republicans.