George W. Bush Loses Election for the House of Representatives

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district.

His opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as being out of touch with rural Texans; Bush lost the election by 6,000 votes (6%) of the 103,000 votes cast. He returned to the oil industry and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies. He created Arbusto Energy, and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman. The company was hurt by a decline in oil prices, and as a result, it folded into Harken Energy. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. Questions of possible insider trading involving Harken arose, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.

His political career began inauspiciously, with an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 after which he began a career in the oil industry in 1978. In 1989, he formed a consortium to buy the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball franchise.

Upon graduation Bush returned to Midland to follow his father into the oil business and to establish Arbusto, an oil exploration company. Soon after, he also made his first foray into politics in a race for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. Despite setting a new Texas fundraising record for a House candidate, Bush lost to opponent Senator Kent Hance by six percentage points.

During the 1980's, a complete transformation of his personal life occurred when Bush sold off his oil interests, quit drinking, (followed by regular attendance at his wife's Methodist church) and later assumed a campaign management role in his father's successful bid for the presidency in 1987.

Bush began his career in the oil industry in 1975 when he formed the oil and gas exploration company Arbusto Energy and continued working in the energy industry until 1986. His forays into the industry were disastrous, losing millions of dollars. In 1978 Bush ran for the House of Representatives and was defeated by the Democratic State Senator Kent Hance.