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The Bush family is known for starting at or near top in races

East Bernard Express of East Bernard, Texas

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The Bushes don't hanker to inch up the political ladder. They start at or near the top. For four generations, it's either congress or statewide office.

George R Bush, 37, is no exception. Brandishing the well-known Bush brand, he announced early in September 2012 that he would run for a statewide office, and was considering several, maybe attorney general.

He filed papers that November to run statewide. The same month, George P.'s father Jeb emailed a donor list asking support for his son in 2014 for land commissioner.

In January 2013, Bush confirmed he was running for land commissioner, which incumbent Jerry Patterson was leaving to run for lieutenant governor. George P. had raised $1.3 million. By July, it was $3.3 million.

The lone Democrat is former El Paso Mayor John Cook. Libertarian Steven Childs is also running.

The earlier Bushes' initial races:

Great-Grandfather Prescott Bush: U.S. senator from Connecticut, 1950.

Grandfather George H. W Bush: U.S. senator from Texas, 1964.

Father Jeb Bush: governor of Florida, 1994.

Uncle George W Bush: Texas' 19th congressional district, 1978.

All four lost their first race, but won the second. More about the Bushes' elective careers below.

And now comes George P.

Land commissioner is a well-used springboard for higher political office. Democratic Land Commissioners Bob Armstrong (1971-83) and Garry Mauro (1983-99) both ran for governor. Both lost.

Republican Land Commissioner David Dewhurst (1999-2003) ran for lieutenant governor and won. Current Land Commissioner Patterson (2003-15) is running for lieutenant governor against Dewhurst this year.

Every experienced Republican politician who might have wanted to run for land commissioner backed out after George P. got in. They didn't want to go against the huge name ID and fundrais-ing Golden Rolodex of a George Bush.

The same thing happened when Uncle W ran for governor in 1994.

Even though it meant taking on popular incumbent Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, there were at least three credible pols who'd wanted to run, but backed off when W said he'd run.

George P.'s lone opponent for the March 2 Republican primary is David Watts, a Tea Party candidate who, after college in Kentucky, lost a 1992 race for the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Watts is an East Texas businessman, preacher, teacher, novelist, commercial pilot, and semi-professional photographer, according to his campaign website. He and his wife and three children live on 19 acres between Gilmer and Longview.

Watts wants Texas to quit educating the children of undocumented immigrants.

George P. has been doing everything he can to encourage Republicans to reach out rather than seek to punish Hispanics.

Bush's mother, Columba Garnica Gallo, is from Mexico. Like the rest of the Bushes, George P. thinks Republicans should court Hispanics. He was co-founder of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas.

George P. in January told a Corpus Christi group that, 'Tor me and my family, it's not Hispanic outreach. It's Hispanic inclusion."

When asked about Denton County Republican chair Dianne Edmondson described in an online newsletter the likely top of the Democratic ticket, headed by state Sen. Wendy Davis, as "the super women ticket of Abortion Barbie with Hispanic Sen. Leticia Van De Putte as her running mate," George P. bristled.

"If we're going to be successful and be considered credible in the Hispanic community," he told The Texas Tribune, "we've got to denounce some of the ignorant statements that are made about Hispanics and the contributions we make, whether it's to the military, our nation's economy or to the history of Texas."

Two predictions:

George P. probably won't copy uncle George W. by having bumper stickers with just his middle initial.

If George P. wins, don't look for him to grow old in the land commissioner's office.

The Bush Dynasty's electoral history:

Prescott Bush: U.S. senator from Connecticut.

Lost in 1950, but won a special election in 1952 to fill a vacancy. Reelected in 1956, retired in 1963.

George H. W. Bush: U.S. senator from Texas.

Lost in 1964 to incumbent Democrat Ralph W. Yarborough. Won Houston's re-drawn 7th congressional district in 1966, re-elected 1968. At President Richard Nixon's request, ran again for the Senate in 1970. Lost to moderate Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, who had beaten Yarborough in the primary.

Nixon's Ambassador to the United Nations, Republican National Committee chair during Watergate, President Gerald Ford's special envoy to China, Ford's head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Candidate for president in 1980, elected vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Re-elected 1984. Elected president in 1988. Lost re-election in 1992 to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Father Jeb Bush: governor of Florida.

Lost in 1994. Won in 1998, 2002. Possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

Uncle George W Bush: U.S. House of Representatives.

Lost in 1978 to Democratic state Sen. Kent Hance, Lubbock, in Texas' 19th congressional district. In 1994, upset Democratic Gov. Ann Richards. Reelected 1998. Elected president in 2000, again in 2004.

Contact Dave McNeely at or 512-458-2963.

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Original Publication Date: February 6, 2014

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