Washington Prowler

Bush Republicans for McCain

The Arizona senator follows the money.

By 2.27.06

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SHOW ME THE MONEY
Two indicators of just where Republicans money folk are placing their bets right now: Sen. John McCain spent time last week in Florida, Miami specifically, meeting with mostly Hispanic business groups. This round of meetings follows in the wake of a lunch McCain had eight weeks ago with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

That the President's brother publicly disclosed the lunch meeting with McCain and close Bush adviser, now-McCain consultant Mark McKinnon, underscores just how far McCain has come in gaining the support of the tight-knit Bush clan. Another sign: McCain is being given access to some of the deepest pockets the Bush family draws on for their campaigns.

For example, Jeb Bush, who has close ties to the construction and land development crowd in Florida, helped arrange two meetings that McCain advisers consider critical to their man's ability to outraise other Republicans in the state. The first was a morning meeting with developer Sergio Pino and the second a luncheon with the Latin Builders Association.

This most recent Florida trip comes on the heels of several trips McCain has made to Texas, where McKinnon has been squiring McCain around to Bush's high-end donors and fundraising organizers. While a number of Republican donors are throwing money at Sen. George Allen, Gov. Mitt Romney, and lower profile potential candidates, a number of the bigger fish are already aligning themselves with McCain.

And not just in Texas and Florida. McCain, who was given access to the Bush campaign's full donor list, has been making inroads with Republicans in both Iowa and South Carolina, two states McCain very much wants to win in 2008. In 2000 McCain didn't run in Iowa's caucuses -- and everyone remembers what happened to him in South Carolina that year.

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