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He secured a position with Dresser Industries, on whose board of directors his father had served 22 years. In the Republican primary, Bush ran first with 62,985 votes, but his total was 44.1 percent, which was not the required majority.George Bush and the Liedtke brothers created the Zapata Corporation in 1953 as Zapata Oil. He was thus forced into a runoff primary with Jack Cox, also of Houston, the 1962 Republican gubernatorial nominee, who had 45,561 votes (31.9 percent) in the primary.

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He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, from 1936 to 1942, where he captained the baseball and soccer teams and was a member of an exclusive fraternity Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas—Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth." While at Phillips Academy, Bush first learned of the surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

After graduating from Phillips Academy in June 1942, Bush joined the United States Navy on his eighteenth birthday to become an aviator.

The Bush political "dynasty" has been compared to that of the Adams and the Kennedy families. Bush's father, Prescott Bush, was a United States senator from Connecticut.

Bush is the father of the 43rd president, George Walker Bush, and the 43rd governor of Florida(1999-2007), Jeb Bush. George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924, to Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush.

As the Republican nominee, Bush then ran a campaign against the incumbent Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough, making issue of Yarborough's support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.