While the “will he/she run?” speculation never truly takes a rest, things are really revving up for the 2016 election season, especially among the prospective GOP candidates.

Mitt Romney looks to be assembling a campaign team, Mike Huckabee gave up his Fox News show and Jeb Bush launched a Super PAC. Let the games begin!

The Michael Smerconish Program is taking a closer look at George W. Bush’s younger brother Jeb, who was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. University of Central Florida political science professor Aubrey Jewett notes that Bush has made some changes since 1994, when he lost an election during the Republican Revolution.

“When that happened, I think he had — literally and metaphorically — a come-to-Jesus meeting,” Jewett says. During that ’94 election, Bush was “almost a caricature, a stereotype of the angry white male Republican conservative,” which clearly didn’t work in a diverse state like Florida.

But Jewett says that after the loss, Bush took a more positive approach to social issues, like education and the environment. And personally, he converted to Catholicism. It was that overall change in style that helped him win the governorship twice.

Conventionally, a Republican will shift right leading up to a presidential primary in effort to secure the party’s nomination. But Jewett has only seen Bush moving toward the center, even in recent years.

“He’s definitely more of a centrist than he was back in 1994 and I do think he’s moved a little bit more moderate since he’s been out of office,” Jewett says.

But, to be clear: “He’s still very conservative.”

Will Bush’s gentler style help him or hurt him as he presses forward toward the primaries? Follow along through this [long] election season with The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Ch. 124 weekdays at 9am ET.

 

For a free 30-day trial, check out siriusxm.com/fbtrial.

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