Continued from page 1

Ms. McManus said it’s probably too early to tell how much President Bush’s unpopularity could impact the former governor’s campaign.

“Will the Bush name [in two years] be improved, or will it be even further tarnished? We don’t know,” she said, “but the good news for Jeb is he’s being judged by Floridians and not the rest of the country.”

The demographics of the state’s electorate have changed since Mr. Bush left office, she added. In the most recent election cycle, President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign registered hundreds of thousands of new voters.

“Florida has changed quite a bit since then,” said Mr. Jotkoff, noting that Florida leads the nation in job losses and has the second-highest foreclosure rate. “Should ‘King Jeb’ enter the race for U.S. Senate, the Florida Democratic Party will very aggressively remind the Floridians of what Jeb’s failed polices have done to our state.”

On the Democratic side, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, one of Florida’s two Democrats statewide - the other being Sen. Bill Nelson - has publicly expressed an interest in running, as have Reps. Allen Boyd and Kendrick B. Meek.

Unlike last month’s race, the 2010 Senate contest will top the ballot, and Democrats won’t be able to ride the coattails of Mr. Obama, who will have been in office for almost two years by then. Nevertheless, some say Mr. Obama’s performance in the next two years could play a role.

“We have a lot of unknown factors,” Florida lobbyist Ron Book said. “Some of them will be answered by Obama.”