You’d think with the way Jeb Bush and Donald Trump were going back and forth over the topic of immigration that Jeb is competing directly with Trump for voters and fundraising dollars. At this point, however, it appears that Ohio Governor John Kasich is the biggest threat to Bush in terms of shared ideology and a shared fundraising pool.
Report from Politico:
There’s a fresh face in New Hampshire and his name is John Kasich.
The Ohio governor is no political newbie, having first made his way into national politics in the early 1980s as a freshman congressman, but he was a late entrant to the 2016 Republican race with limited name recognition and plenty of ground to make up against Jeb Bush, whose establishment lane Kasich has been trying to horn in on.
He’s been storming New Hampshire, on TV and in person, with vigor, hoping for a meeting of the moderate minds and spirits in the state will help him catch fire.
There are signs of a few knee trembles in the Bush campaign. Not outwardly or obviously, of course. The Bush camp says it’s focused on driving its own agenda and will be spending ample time in New Hampshire along the way.
“Governor Bush’s successful conservative record as governor is unmatched in the presidential field,” said spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger.
One Bush ally, though, threw a subtle elbow Wednesday. Ana Navarro, a longtime Bush friend, tweeted that Kasich’s recent climb to third in a New Hampshire poll — behind Donald Trump and neck-and-neck with Bush — was a sign he was pulling support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a dig suggesting he’s just cannibalizing another back-of-the-pack contender but one that seemed intended to mask Bush world’s growing concern.
Jeb’s last name may be both his biggest asset and biggest challenge when it comes to fundraising and voter appeal. John Kasich, on the other hand, holds very similar moderate views on several issues when compared to Jeb, yet lacks the baggage of the Bush name. Donors and voters who have supported Jeb initially, though were hesitant over getting involved with another Bush, may perhaps see Kasich as a vessel for their brand of politics without the national legacy.
Trump is firing at Jeb because it will help knock him down and further dilute the pool making it harder for the establishment to coalesce against the real estate mogul. Having Kasich become the torch bearer may make it more difficult for Trump since he’s a more difficult target.