George P. Bush begins political career with win

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Associated Press

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 4 at 8:33 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — George P. Bush took the first step toward continuing his family's political dynasty Tuesday, shaking off an under-funded primary challenger and securing the Republican nomination for the little-known but powerful post of Texas land commissioner.

The 37-year-old Fort Worth attorney is the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, nephew of former President and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP White House hopeful in 2016.

He's also a Spanish speaker whose mother Columba was born in Mexico and who Republican leaders statewide long have toasted as key to wooing voters among Texas' booming Hispanic population.

Tuesday's result was never in doubt. There was no incumbent running and Bush used his American political-royalty surname to raise more than $3.5 million while his opponent, East Texas businessman David Watts, could barely afford to travel the state.

Bush immediately becomes the overwhelming favorite in November against Democratic nominee and former El Paso Mayor John Cook. A Democrat hasn't captured statewide office in Texas in 20 years.

The land commissioner administers Texas' vast, state-owned lands and mineral resources, and it's a post that can be a stepping stone to higher office. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was land commissioner before winning his current job.

Bush taught school in inner-city Miami before earning a law degree from the University of Texas and clerking for a federal judge. He later founded a capital company in Fort Worth and, in 2010, served an eight-month tour in Afghanistan with U.S. Naval Intelligence under an assumed name.

Attending Bush's victory party at a Fort Worth Mexican restaurant Tuesday, San Antonio-based oilman Douglas Cain called the latest George Bush "a very humble, straightforward guy."

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