Jeb Bush joins 2016 race, coming to Iowa Wednesday


Bruce Rastetter conducts at question and answer session with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush about agricultural issues facing the world today. Bush will be at the Prairie Moon Winery in Ames on July 13.

Alex Hanson

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and the brother of former President George W. Bush, officially joined the 2016 presidential race at an event in Miami on Monday.

Bush, while consistently saying he is proud of what his father and brother have accomplished, said he plans to tell voters what he has done himself as a governor and what he would do as the 45th president.

“I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching and staying true to what I believe,” Bush said “I will take nothing and no one for granted. I will run with heart. I will run to win.“

He has touted his conservative record as governor of Florida, but has taken more “moderate” positions than other 2016 candidates, such as support for “Common Core” education standards and a pathway to citizenship as a part of immigration reform.

“We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation,” Bush said, touting numbers from his state throughout the speech.

Bush, 62, has been mulling a presidential run since mid-December, and has traveled the country extensively to meet with voters. He has been in Iowa several times, including appearing with almost a dozen other candidates at Bruce Rastetter’s “Iowa Agriculture Summit” in March, and appearing at a fundraiser with first-term U.S. Rep. David Young.

“We will take command of our future once again in this country,” Bush said. “We will lift our sights again, make opportunity common again, get events in the world moving our way again.”

Straight off his announcement today, Bush is heading to New Hampshire tomorrow and then will be in Iowa on Wednesday. Bush will be in Washington, Iowa, for a “backyard meet and greet” at 10 a.m. 

The campaign has said during the stop, Bush “will focus on his plans to put people in towns like Washington, Iowa before those in Washington, D.C.” During his speech, Bush said he will not accept the current “standard” in Washington and took a subtle jab at Senators running against him, saying this elected to Washington already cannot fix it.

Bush will also host a town hall at Molengracht Plaza in Pella, Iowa at 5:15 p.m on Wednesday. Those who wish to attend can RSVP here.

Bush will also travel to South Carolina – the third primary state after New Hampshire – on Thursday.

Mack Shelley, a professor of political science at ISU, said Bush’s path to victory in Iowa will be tougher than some other states because of the makeup of caucus voters – a more conservative element of the party made up of Tea Party and evangelical voters.

“The configuration of who shows up for the Republican caucuses is pretty much [a mix of conservative or evangelical voters], and that’s not really Bush’s crowd,” he said.

Beyond Iowa, Shelley said Bush might perform better in the other early states like New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Bush has also acknowledged that some voters may be skeptical just based on his last name, but in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Bush, speaking in third person, said, “Jeb is different from George. Jeb is who he is. My life story is different.”

Bush joins 11 others in the crowded Republican primary, with several more expected to jump in over the next month. The latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics “Iowa Poll” shows Bush has some ground to make up among likely caucus goers. He was tied with Mike Huckabee at 9 percent support, while Ben Carson and Rand Paul pulled in 10 percent. Scott Walker led the poll with 17 percent.