The Bush Political Family
Based in: Connecticut, Texas, Florida
Members: Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush
Prescott Bush began his political career in 1950, when he ran as the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat from Connecticut. He lost that race by a narrow margin, but in 1952, he won a special election to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. He was re-elected in 1956, and served until January 1963. During his time in the Senate, Prescott Bush was known as a liberal Republican, working actively on behalf of such causes as civil rights, birth control, and the United Nations.
In 1964, his son George H.W. Bush, a Texas oil businessman, ran for the Senate as the Republican nominee against Democrat Ralph Yarborough. Bush faulted Yarborough for his vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (he was the only Southern senator to vote in the affirmative). Yarborough won easily.
Bush was elected to the US House from a Houston-area district in 1966 and was re-elected in 1968. When Yarborough was defeated in the primary by Lloyd Bentsen in 1970, Bush took another shot at the seat. Once again, he was defeated.
From 1971 on, he held a series of appointive jobs both in and out of government, including Chair of the Republican National Committee, Ambassador to the UN, US Envoy to China, and Director of the CIA. In 1980, he declared a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination for President. He failed to win the nomination, but was elected VP on Ronald Reagan's ticket. He was re-elected as VP in 1984, and in 1988, won the Republican nomination. That fall, he carried 40 states and defeated Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis. A mild recession in 1991 helped bring down Bush in the 1992 election even though his Gulf War effort was widely perceived as successful. A strong third-party bid by Ross Perot and an extremely competent Clinton campaign sealed Bush's fate. He left office in January 1993.
A year later, his son, George W. Bush ran for Governor of Texas and defeated incumbent Ann Richards. On the same day, another son, Jeb Bush, lost his bid for the Florida governorship to incumbent Lawton Chiles. Jeb came back and won the seat in 1998, on the same day that his brother was re-elected.
George W. Bush went on to win the 2000 Republican Presidential nomination, defeating Liz Dole, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Alan Keyes, and John McCain, among others. In a very controversial election in 2000, he managed to secure enough electoral votes to be inaugurated President in January 2001, though his opponent Al Gore had one-half million more popular votes. He went on to win re-election in 2004.