Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot
March 14th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
1 year ago

Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot

(CNN) - There are 23 names on the Conservative Political Action Conference's much watched 2016 GOP presidential nomination straw poll.

And there's one glaring omission: Jeb Bush.

It appears the former two-term Florida governor is the reason his name isn't on the ballot.

"He requested not to be put on the poll this year," an official with the American Conservative Union, the group that puts on CPAC, told CNN. The official asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

And that was quickly confirmed by a spokesman for Bush.

"It was our request to Mr. Cardenas when he extended the invite for Gov. Bush to speak. We asked not to be included, as Gov. Bush has said repeatedly, it is too early to think about 2016," Bush spokesperson Jaryn Emhof told CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, anchor of the upcoming CNN program "The Lead."

Bush will speak at the conference Friday.

Bush lately has been doing something he's never really done before: talk publicly about possibly running for president. Earlier this month as Bush did the television interview circuit, including two interviews on CNN, around the release of his new book, "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution," the son and brother of former presidents openly discussed his thinking on a run for the White House in 2016.

But in those interviews Bush, who passed on running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012, said he won't be making a decision on the next race for the White House any time soon and chided the media for obsessing on 2016.

"I suspect Jeb didn't want to be on straw poll list. He has consistently said it's too early for 2016 talk and doesn't do anything to fan the flames," said Ana Navarro, a GOP strategist, CNN contributor and friend of Bush.

And a source very close to Bush told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, anchor of CNN's "State of the Union," that the straw poll "would start a conversation he doesn't want and doesn't even think should happen at this time."

Hanging over Bush is what can be described as Bush fatigue - the idea that a Jeb Bush bid for the White House would carry his family's political baggage.

His father, George H.W. Bush, served one term before losing his 1992 re-election campaign against then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. The elder Bush angered many conservatives by breaking his "no new taxes" pledge.

His brother George W. Bush served two terms but left office in January 2009 as a very unpopular president, even among Republicans, who were angered by his support of federal spending increases and his 2008 bailout of Wall Street during the financial crisis.

A few high-profile conservatives and potential White House hopefuls who weren't invited to speak at the CPAC nevertheless made it onto the ballot.

While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell were not invited to speak, both appear on the 23-name ballot obtained by CNN for the next GOP presidential nomination. (McDonnell will still appear at CPAC on a panel but will not be a featured speaker.)

The straw poll is often considered a way to gauge where the conservative base stands on potential Republican nominees. Last year, when the conference took place in February, then-candidate Mitt Romney won the poll at a crucial point in the Republican primary. The former governor of Massachusetts took 38% of the vote, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 31%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at 15% and then-Texas Rep. Ron Paul stood at 12%.

In previous years, however, Paul was the winner of the poll. The libertarian-learning Republican came out on top in 2011 and 2010.

In 2009, months after the 2008 election, Romney took first place, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal coming in second and Paul tying for third place with Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

Other non-CPAC speakers on this year's ballot include New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who now heads Purdue University; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign last year; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Also of note, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, who rose to fame for his grassroots support in a heated Texas primary and run-off last year, made the list. Given that he was born in Canada with an American citizen mother and a Cuban father, his eligibility for president has been subject to debate.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson interestingly appears on the poll–the only one on the list who's never been elected to public office. He generated buzz among conservative circles after he advocated conservative policies on taxes and health care right in front of President Obama while keynoting the national prayer breakfast last month.

Check out the rest of the list below:

1. NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
2. AZ Governor Jan Brewer
3. KS Governor Sam Brownback
4. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
5. NJ Governor Chris Christie
6. TX Senator Ted Cruz
7. Former IN Governor Mitch Daniels
8. SC Governor Nikki Haley
9. LA Governor Bobby Jindal
10. OH Governor John Kasich
11. NM Governor Susana Martinez
12. VA Governor Bob McDonnell
13. Former AK Governor Sarah Palin
14. KY Senator Rand Paul
15. IN Governor Mike Pence
16. TX Governor Rick Perry
17. OH Senator Rob Portman
18. FL Senator Marco Rubio
19. WI Congressman Paul Ryan
20. Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
21. SC Senator Tim Scott
22. SD Senator John Thune
23. WI Governor Scott Walker
24. Other _______________________
25. Undecided

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • CPAC • Jeb Bush
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    He's not pure enough, I guess. He like education, so that makes him a snob.

    March 14, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "He requested not to be put on the poll this year," an official with the American Conservative Union, the group that puts on CPAC, told CNN. The official asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely."

    A few options:

    1. He is fine tuning his Etch A Sketch.

    2. He never intends on campaigning for President of the United States.

    3. He has a book tour that so far has bombed big time.

    March 14, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Kiki

    He cannot possibly be elected by the american people. We're done with the bushes. NO MORE!

    March 14, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    He knows that name is still toxic. Once the GOP clown car crashes, and it will, he will be there to pick up the pieces, right along with Christy.

    March 14, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. ST

    Jeb Bush requested not his name to be put on poll this year!! Why did he take interviews from one network to the other? This man knows for sure that with the name Bush he can not win. He was out there just only to sell his book. As simple and easier like that.

    March 14, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. dd

    America is all "Bushed" out.

    March 14, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Bill North

    Too bad Jeb did not run in place of his brother. He did a good job as Gov of Florida. Unfortunately, his bro and his Dad is what will keep us from having a better choice than the usual suspects.

    March 14, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Brad

    It's time to get out the hedge trimmers.

    March 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. A. Goodwin

    As a NH resident, the fact that Ayotte tops the list is absolutely laughable!! She votes lock step and key with Republicans, and many people here in NH wish they could take back their vote. Especially since she has made it her mission to fight Planned Parenthood, defending restricting access to abortions, and by and large does not reflect the values that her constituents have. She cares about one thing and one thing only: herself.

    Please – make her the presidential nominee. She was a HORRIBLE NH AG and is a HORRIBLE senator. This nomination – yet again – would hand it to the Democrats!!!!

    March 14, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Pander Bear

    He's trying to have it both ways. Shake the Etch-a-Sketch on immigration but try to stay in the middle along with Christie by not joining the Obama Hate Fest that is CPAC. He doesn't want to "look" like a bat guano crazy conservative, he just wants to talk and rule like a bat guano crazy conservative. Sorry Jebster. You're not going to be the nominee ever.

    March 14, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. militantlibrarian

    Jon Hunstman isn't on the list, either, which means that two of the only rational candidates for the 2016 nomination aren't on the ballot. (At least Christie made the cut.)

    Yet Sarah Palin is on the shortlist? Something tells me no one in the GOP learned anything during this last election cycle, and if they are just going to nominate the same sort of candidate, the party will quickly go the way of the buffalo.)

    March 14, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Candace Clough

    good for him

    March 14, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. California Gary

    If he was such a good governor, please tell me this: why was his state so messed up in 2000 that it took several weeks of hanging chads, recounts, court battles, attorney posturing, and eventually a partisan Supreme Court ruling to deliver the state to his brother when it should have been relatively easy for a "popular" governor to swing the state to his party nominee? It didn't seem to me like he had his act together at the time.......have we collectively forgotten all of that?

    March 14, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Unnameable Horror

    None of the above. Bush was smart (wow, imagine that) to have his name removed from the list. Topping that list is like putting one foot in the grave. Slightly more than 7 out of 10 voters do not want an archconservative in the WH.

    March 14, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Bob

    Are they going to show this guy everyday til 2016 or what?
    Read my lips...
    No new Bushes!

    March 14, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Steve R

    He can correct this by claiming that he is "severely" conservative.

    March 14, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Vic of New York

    Jeb can put his name in CPAC or not. It don't change a thing. Americans are tired of "Bush League" presidents.

    March 14, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. greyhackles

    I know it's presented alphabetical, but I think it's hilarious that the Lightweight Senator From New Hampshire is at the top...

    March 14, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    @California Gary. No most haven't forgotten but the GOP just pretends that never happened......
    You know like they pretend Bushy didn't tank the economy, start the recession and leave office in disgrace. Like they pretend Obama should just wave a magic wand and everything should be like it was pre-Bush, without the help of a single Republican.

    March 14, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. janer52

    a long list of crazies. seriously, republicans...you must buff up your list if you ever expect to take the white house again. the lunatic fringe will not fly!

    March 14, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Big Al

    George W. Bush was one of the greatest presidents of the United States. He will be on Mt. Rushmoore.

    March 14, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Moonraker

    First of all, there is no worst name than "Jeb", it just screams hillbilly. Second of all, why is Palin being invited? I thought her toxic brand of politics is why the GOP lost in the first place and of what relevance is she in 2013? Besides writing books about Christmas it doesn't seem like she's been up to a whole lot.

    March 14, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    I wish someone would sneak in there, all stealthy like, and find that Sith Lord controlling all of their brains. Remind the person that they always come in twos: a master and an apprentice. The must both be exposed and sent back into retreat.

    March 14, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. a little sad

    Vote Jeb 2016 – we owe the Bushes another shot at tanking the country!

    March 14, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. The Whispering Squash

    Sure wish the Shrubs would go away permanently. Every time I see an article about the, I smell burning sulfur, as if the Devil has entered the room. Hmm. I guess Hugo Chavez was right about that.

    March 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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