Jeb Bush's influence tested in Thrasher race
JACKSONVILLE — It has been a decade since former Gov. Jeb Bush joined forces with then-House Speaker John Thrasher to reduce taxes, legalize school vouchers and generally make life miserable for Florida's mostly liberal trial lawyers.
Having capitalized on that success by earning millions as a high-powered lobbyist, Thrasher now wants to return to the political arena, and Bush is the key. He stars in pro-Thrasher TV ads that blast the lawyers who are now aggressively working to defeat Thrasher.
With no Democrats running, the Sept. 15 primary for the North Florida Senate seat is winner-take-all where anything can happen, because voter turnout is usually low in special elections. That means a short, intense campaign heavy on advertising, and an effective get-out-the-vote effort can be crucial.
The result is a titanic and costly clash between the Republican old guard and trial lawyers, and the outcome could have implications for years in the state capital. (story here / Times photo, 1999)