‘Keep the door open’: former land commissioner George W. Bush on his political future

Austin. Former Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said Wednesday he is “keeping the door open” for a return to politics in his first interview since leaving office a few weeks ago.

Bush, grandson of one president and nephew of another, announced he was joining the national law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. The son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, he said he had several opportunities after two terms as land commissioner.

But his hopes of climbing the political ladder ended in May when he lost to Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Republican runoff 68-32. Paxton won a third term in November, R Lakeway state senator Don Buckingham was elected as Bush’s successor, leaving many to wonder if the Bush political dynasty is over.

But Bush doesn’t think so.

“Losing all over the state, I realized that it was all about timing, and so last summer was not the right time,” he said in an interview with Zoom on Wednesday. “But who said that at the age of 46, that in a few years or in the future there will be no other possibility?”

Bush will continue to live in Austin, he said, and the firm’s press release said he would “support the firm’s corporate, litigation, and advisory practices in Texas.”

Shortly after he was elected land commissioner, many wondered if Bush would be the next member of the family destined for a higher position. His middle name belongs to his great-grandfather Prescott Bush, who was a US Senator from 1952 to 1963. Prescott Bush, a former US Senator from Connecticut, was the family’s patriarch.

Bush did what no one else in his family did: win his first race for office.

“And then, of course, after losing, they rubbed it in and reminded me that I, like every other Bush, lost at least one race,” Bush said.

He believes that he still has a place in the conservative movement. Bush said that in conversations with voters, many tell him that they are tired of the internal party struggle.

“They are tired of the revisionist, convoluted politics that are being played out not only between both parties, but within our own party, and that in order to do better in the elections, we will simply have to work as a team,” Bush said. “And so I think as we get closer to 2024, it will be important that this theme of unity come together at all levels.”

What about Donald Trump? Will he support him again when he runs for president in 2024?

“I am for the candidate who wins the nomination,” he said. “I am a free agent. I’ve been a lifelong conservative, a lifelong Republican, and I really think it’s time for us to openly discuss the ideas and the future of the party.”

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