Former Gov. Jeb Bush suspended his presidential campaign on February 20 after failing to coalesce a core following of Republicans at a time when the party was looking for a staunch conservative outsider.
Bush, who served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, entered the presidential race with some obvious advantages and disadvantages. The son of one ex-president and the brother of another, he had deep contacts and connections in the Republican Party. At the same time, the family connections made Bush appear like both a candidate of the past and as a candidate hostile to conservatives, since many Republicans felt the previous two Bush presidents were too moderate.
Bush's candidacy played out exactly along these lines. He was resisted by Republicans on the right, weary of his more moderate stand on dividing issues like immigration. The former governor campaigned on reforming immigration, not halting it. His wife, Columba, is Mexican-American and Bush regularly speaks fluent Spanish on the campaign trail.
As a candidate with a well established political name, Bush also faced a challenge from opponents like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who are viewed as fresh faces representing a new Republican generation. At the same time, party donors, many of whom had donated to his brother and father, have supported Bush, giving him a fundraising advantage over his rivals. Bush and a super-PAC backing his candidacy, Right to Rise, raised over $120 million each, more than any other GOP campaign or PAC. But the monetary advantage proved little to sway significant support his way.
Bush spent much of the summer battling with the insurgent candidacy of Donald Trump. Initially it was believed that his true path to victory was likely not taking on outsiders like Trump or Ben Carson directly, but winning over Republicans in states like New Hampshire where many of the voters are more moderate.
Yet as Trump's surge in appeal continued, the Bush campaign had no choice but to defend itself from attacks rather than ignore them. Bush's slide in the polls from the campaign's onset and his inability to finish in the top three in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina led to the suspension of his campaign.