W Tells Poppy and Bar He's Running For Governor
In the days following their father's loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, W's brother Jeb "had grown increasingly committed to the idea of taking on Gov. Lawton Chiles in Florida...By Christmastime in 1993, Jeb had mentioned his plans to several family members, who were all enthused by it...His father responded simply, 'Go for it.'"
But, "if Jeb's bid to run for governor was expected and encouraged, news that George W. wanted to run for governor in Texas sent shock waves through the family...When they found out he was serious, almost everyone declared it was a mistake. He went to his mother. 'Mother, I've made up my mind. Laura and I are fixin' to announce for governor.' 'You can't win,' snapped Bar. That was her simple answer and Big George thought the same thing."
"...Most Bush family friends shared former Bush aide Pete Teeley's assessment: 'Jeb's got his feet on the ground. He doesn't suffer from the ego problems of George."
"The concern was that Gov. Ann Richards was popular and effective in Texas, and that George would be taking on a legend in Texas polititics...As Bar put it, Jeb is 'more like his father if truth be known.'...George W. is more like his mother, she said. He spoke quick and asked questions later. He could show his temper...'This is not a compliment to him,' she added."
("The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty," Schweizer, pages 413-414)
"When Jeb had announced his plan to challenge Florida's incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles, George decided he had to take on Ann Richards, or, as he called her, 'Mrs. Big Hair.'"
His wife and his mother were adamantly opposed. Laura saw the race as nothing more than sibling competition for his father's approval...Laura wanted no part of it. "She's throwing [cold] water on it," George complained...Barbara bluntly told her son he did not stand a chance against Ann Richards. "She's too popular," she said. "You'll lose."
His father was not as outspoken, but just as dubious. He told Time's Hugh Sidey, "It surprised me a little when he decided to run for Governor. I've always felt that people in public life should have done something in the private sector before."
...But "George, who had learned from Lee Atwater to read and rely on polls, hired Karl Rove to test Ann Richards's strength in the state...'They like her hair,' said Rove, 'but they're not strongly anchored to her.' Rove's polls showed Richards's record on crime, education, and welfare reform was spotty. George, on the other hand, had no record to defend, except the success of the Texas Rangers.
"Let's go for it," Rove urged.
("The Family," Kitty Kelley, pages 541-542. See also "The Perfect Wife," Gerhart, page 89)
W had already decided to run for governor when he informed his parents. He wasn't asking them, he was telling them.
George W. Bush beat Ann Richards in the 1994 election for Governor of Texas with 53% of the vote to her 46%. His brother, Jeb, meanwhile, lost in a close election to Lawton Chiles in Florida by 63,940 votes, out of over 4 million votes cast.