|For Immediate Release, Feb. 26, 1999||Contact: Andrew Malcolm (Racicot)
Rob Gray (Cellucci)
GOP GOVERNORS ENDORSE BUSH FOR PRESIDENT
Gov. MARC RACICOT of Montana and Gov. PAUL CELLUCCI of Massachussetts announced today that even before any announcement of his intentions, half of the nation's Republican Governors are endorsing a Presidential candidacy by their colleague, Gov. GEORGE W. BUSH of Texas.
Three GOP Governors have firmly committed to publicly endorsing a candidacy by Gov. Bush soon, pending favorite son and other local courtesies in their own states. Four more said they expect to be endorsing the Texas Governor in the near future. The total would be 19 of the 30 GOP Governors, excluding Texas.
"We are pleased," Gov. Racicot said, "but not at all surprised by this historically unprecedented outpouring of support from Republican Governors BEFORE a candidacy is even announced. This is clearly a reflection of the breadth of support across the nation and across the party for Gov. Bush's pragmatic reforms, open style of government management and conservative, family-oriented administration. He's a conservative, congenial, compassionate and committed to a core of principles that Republican Governors not only endorse but practice every day. We all know he is a proven winner."
Gov. Cellucci added: "George W. Bush would be our party's best candidate. Republican governors have led the way on tax cuts, education and getting the job done for their constituents. The ideological and geographical breadth of support among Gov. Bush's peers demonstrates just how strong a candidate he would be."
Today's list of endorsements of Gov. Bush actually began as a casual conversational survey of GOP Governors during breaks at this week's Annual Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, DC.
"This was neither requested nor authorized by Gov. Bush," Gov. Racicot added. "But the more I talked with my colleagues the more we realized that most of us want George to run. If we all feel that way, even at this early campaign date, and the goal is selecting a proven winner, then why not just say so now?
So Governors Cellucci and Engler and I started to jot down names on a pad and decided to release at least a partial list today in the hope that such broad, strong support will encourage Gov. Bush to decide to seek our party's Presidential nomination next year. I fully expect other GOP Governors to join the Petition in the coming weeks and months."
There are currently 31 Republican Governors governing about 70 percent of the nation's population, earning unusually high approval ratings in the 60, 70 and even upper 80 percent range. Not counting Gov. George W. Bush himself, 12 of the 30 remaining Governors have publicly endorsed his candidacy today and are listed here. Three others have made firm commitments and will announce their names in the near future. Four more expect to follow suit.
Gov. MARC RACICOT of Montana
Gov. PAUL CELLUCCI of Massachusetts
Gov. JOHN ENGLER of Michigan
Gov. JOHN ROWLAND of Connecticut
Gov. FRANK KEATING of Oklahoma
Gov. DIRK KEMPTHORNE of Idaho
Gov. JEB BUSH of Florida
Gov. BILL GRAVES of Kansas
Gov. MIKE FOSTER of Louisiana
Gov. KENNY GUINN of Nevada
Gov. LINCOLN ALMOND of Rhode Island
Gov. BILL OWENS of Colorado