Ballot Box

Headliner for Bush event? Rubio

Greg Nash

What’s in a name?

Republicans in Connecticut may be pondering that age-old question as they prepare for the keynote speaker at their annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner on Thursday evening: Marco Rubio.

The choice of the Florida senator to headline an event named after Jeb Bush’s grandfather might seem a little surprising — or perhaps mischievous, given that Connecticut GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. is an early Rubio endorser.

{mosads}Last month, Labriola tweeted that he was “honored and excited to be the first state chair in the nation to personally endorse @marcorubio for president.”

In a statement released Monday by Rubio’s presidential campaign, Labriola declared himself “thrilled” about the Floridian’s participation, adding that he believed “Senator Rubio’s message about building a new American century will resonate with Connecticut residents.”

Labriola framed his comment about the “new American century” in the context of criticism of Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D). But it could also be read as another light jab at Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who is expected to formally enter the presidential race soon.

Rubio’s frequent references on the campaign trail to the need for new ideas are widely interpreted as implicit criticisms of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, whose families have been at the center of American politics for decades.

Prescott Bush, the father of former President George H.W. Bush, was a Republican senator representing Connecticut from 1952 until early 1963. He won office in a special election that following the death of a sitting Democrat, won reelection in 1956 and retired at the 1962 elections.

The news release from the Rubio campaign noted that the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner “is the Connecticut Republican Party’s largest annual event.”

Jeb Bush headlined last year’s dinner.

This story was updated at 1:29 pm.

Tags 2016 presidential election Connecticut George HW Bush Jeb Bush Marco Rubio Prescott Bush
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