Jeb: "I Congratulate My Competitors That Are Remaining On The Island"
Jeb leaving the race isn't the same as deadbeats like Santorum, Fiorina and Pataki abandoning the Deep Bench. He actually did have some supporters-- not many actual voters, but plenty of big money people. PLENTY. In all, his campaign and SuperPAC raised over $150 million dollars, mostly from wealthy people, very little from the kinds of small donors who have fueled Bernie's campaign or even Dr. Ben's campaign. Jeb raised as much as Cruz and Rubio combined. Maybe that's why candidates who were pounding on Bush just a few days ago, particularly Rubio and Cruz and even Herr Trumpf, were so nice to him on Sunday. It would be hard to imagine many Jeb donors going over the Herr's camp... although he may smell like a winner to a few ambitious souls Many, however, according to the media, have started signing on with Rubio. Reportedly 20 already called Florida lobbyist Brian Ballard, a Rubio supporter who switched over from Bush last year.
And Jeb had a lot of endorsers, who are now free to be as meaningless for other candidates as they were for him, including family members, Dan Quayle, Henry Paulson (the TARP guy), a gaggle of past and present senators from Bob Dole, Norm Coleman, and Alan Simpson (the guy who wants to cut Social Security benefits) to Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and... well Dean Heller (NV) immediately endorsed Rubio for tomorrow's caucus in his state. And then there are a few dozen past and present congressmembers, almost exclusively meaningless, even to Republicans, from Eric Cantor, Tom Feeney, and Dave Weldon to Patrick McHenry and a gaggle of Floridians who will all quickly sign up with Rubio.
As for the voters themselves... well there were some in South Carolina, 57,863 (7.8%) to be exact. Even if every single one of them had voted for Rubio-- a real stretch-- Herr Trumpf still would have come in first. And there were 31,312 (11.0%) in New Hampshire; again not enough to have propelled second place finisher John Kasich into first place instead of Herr. His 5,238 votes in Iowa would have made Rubio #2 instead of Trumpf but wouldn't have any any impact on Cruz's win. Yesterday's NY Times looked at the 57,863 South Carolina Bush voters and speculated on where they would go. They felt it worth mentioning that ideologically they fall between supporters of Kasich and Rubio. They tended to be more suburban and urban rather than rural. Other factoids:
• Most of the voters supporting Mr. Bush in South Carolina identified as “somewhat conservative” and were more moderate than the supporters of any other candidate except Mr. Kasich.
• Mr. Bush had the highest share of supporters who said terrorism was the most important issue to them. Like Mr. Rubio’s and Mr. Kasich’s supporters, only a small share listed immigration as the most important issue.
• Mr. Bush’s supporters were older than any other candidate’s supporters. Mr. Trump’s voters were the second oldest.
• Voters for Mr. Bush had a similar education profile to voters for Mr. Rubio and Mr. Carson.
If you wonder why Jeb allowed himself to be abused by a TV clown and carnival barker for so long in his hopeless campaign, look no further than the strategists, consultants and operatives who became rich feeding off the tens of millions of dollars Jeb brought in. He may have gotten the worst advice imaginable but those who gave it became richer and richer as the miserable campaign dragged on and on. Self-serving political hitmen and entrepreneurs did well, regardless of Jeb's agony and daily humiliations. Mike Muphy, who ran the Right to Rise SuperPAC (into the ground) is reported to have walked away with $14 million of the donors' money. (He denies it but won't say how much he pocketed.) That's what happens when you contribute to establishment hacks like Jeb, Rubio, or Hillary. This morning, CNN reported on how Murphy defends himself (and his colossal record of failure).
Murphy said in an email Monday, "Out of more than 11,000 donors only a handful have complained."
"This is just axe grinding, mostly from rival consultant types," Murphy said.
Murphy's failed effort to help Bush follows his strategic oversight of another expensive losing campaign: the $177 million effort of 2010 California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Despite her campaign's lavish spending, Whitman lost to Democrat Jerry Brown, who spent a mere $36 million by comparison.
For months now, there have been rumblings of dissatisfaction among Bush donors about the strategic decisions made by Murphy at Right to Rise.
Some were puzzled by the super PAC's decision to emphasize Bush's government experience in a year when voters clearly were looking for outsider cred and a candidate who could channel anger at the establishment.
Right to Rise also angered some of its own donors by targeting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who could well become the Republican Party's nominee.