High Stakes For Bush, Rubio In South Carolina
By Space Coast Daily // February 17, 2016
EDITOR’S NOTE: With the South Carolina primary approaching on Saturday, two candidates from Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, are fighting for a strong finish. Earlier this week, former President George W. Bush appeared at a Jeb Bush rally. Wednesday night, South Carolina Nikki Haley endorsed Rubio.
Haley’s endorsement follows other popular conservatives in the state joined Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott, who both endorsed Rubio and have appeared on the campaign trial this week. In most South Carolina primary polls, Rubio is currently polling behind Donald Trump and battling Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the second and third-place slots, while Bush is in a virtual deadlock with Ohio Gov. John Kasich for fourth place. Many analysts expect major donors to leave Bush if the former Florida Governor fails to finish in South Carolina’s top three. Orlando-based Republican media campaign consultant John Dowless took the time for a Q&A with Space Coast Daily regarding his opinions and predictions on Bush and Rubio’s respective prospects post South Carolina..
Dowless is a native Floridian with years of experience in Florida elections that includes two presidential campaigns, a United States Senate race and multiple state legislative races. Space Coast Daily welcomes all readers to contribute their thoughts on the 2016 election by emailing Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com.
SCD: With all eyes on South Carolina, do you see any scenario that involves Jeb Bush dropping out after Saturday?
DOWLESS: Yes. If Bush finishes a distant 5th or 6th, I think he has to give serious consideration to dropping out or risk seeing many of his donors jump ship.
SCD: If Bush eventually drops out with Ohio Gov. John Kasich still in the race, do you think Kasich could gain enough support from major donors to leapfrog Rubio or Cruz in the polls?
DOWLESS: While I believe Kasich would benefit a lot from Bush’s exit, I don’t think he’ll rise that much that quick. Some of Bush’s supporters will likely go to Rubio as well.
SCD: Considering Kasich’s executive experience as a Ohio Governor and the recent feuds between Bush and Marco, could you see Bush dropping out and eventually endorsing Kasich instead of Rubio?
DOWLESS: Yes, I think the executive experience means a lot to Bush.
SCD: If you were Bush’s adviser, would you tell him to continue attacking Trump or would you tell him to devote that time and energy toward touting himself as the best choice among the rest of the field?
DOWLESS: I think Bush probably has to do both. He must figure out a way to pick off Trump supporters and try to steer them his way.
SCD: Which GOP candidate in the remaining field would you say has the best chance to win the 2016 General Election and why?
DOWLESS: Rubio definitely has the best chance in the General Election. That’s why Hillary has attacked him in the Primary, to keep him out of the General. Bill Clinton called Rubio “extremely dangerous.” Rubio has strong appeal from a few traditionally non-Republican voting demographics.
ABOUT JOHN DOWLESS:
Dowless is a native Floridian with years of experience in Florida elections that includes two presidential campaigns, a United States Senate race and multiple state legislative campaigns.
A 2015 FloridaPolitics.com story stated that “Dowless is regarded as the best consultant in Central Florida, going 7-0 Primary night last year and 14-2 for the Cycle.” In 2014, Orlando Magazine named him to their “Twelve to Watch” list, which is an honorable mention to their Orlando 50 Most Powerful list.
In 2011, Dowless was elected to the Edgewood City Council and was then selected Council President by his fellow board members in 2013. He also currently serves on MetroPlan Orlando Municipal Advisory Committee for transportation needs.
Past appointments include Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Economic Summits Commission, Orange County Membership, Missions and Review Board (MMRB), which is charged with recruiting and recommending citizens for Orange County’s official advisory boards, and LYNX Citizen Advisory Council.
Dowless graduated from Auburn University with a Business Degree in Economics and from the American Campaign Academy in Washington, DC. He currently resides in the Orlando area and serves and supports several charitable organizations including House the Hope for troubled teens, the Central Florida Employment Council, BETA Center, West Orange County Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Project, and Quest for those with developmental disabilities.