Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot
March 14th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
2 years 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. jj

    Ahhh, the GOP. The blind leading the blind. Where being wrong in the face of all certainty only seems to grow the ego bigger. Some of these names. Palin, seriously? I mean, Santorum couldn't beat Mitt Romney. Ted Cruz. Sure, like a tea party candidate from TX can win a national election. Rick Perry again? That will be fun. Did anyone find out if Rick Scott knew anything about the 300 million his running mate stole using a veteran's fund as a front for an illegal gambling operation?

    March 14, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Jake

    this confirms he's seriously considering a bid. he doesn't want to be associated with CPAC as it's become a showcase of completely unhinged lunacy

    i hope he runs. the bush name is poison and the dems will steamroll him effortlessly.

    March 14, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. rs

    The sad thing is CPAC is setting up precisely the debacle that the last election held for the GOP. A zillion debates wherein the crazies get to stake out ever wackier positions until what's left of their brand is so toxic they cannot win.
    Remember what Jindal said!

    March 14, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    Obama spoiled the Bush name for many years, with his lies and deceit, about what Bush was "responsible for". Truth is one of Obama's big shortcomings. He doesn't know the meaning of the word.
    ----------------
    Actually, Rick, Pres. Obama has tried to sweep the "war crimes" allegations against the Bush administration under the rug, and he has more or less succeeded at it. Obama didn't want to divide a country that was already struggling through the worst financial collapse since The Great Depression. The Bushes, and the ring leaders of the Bush administraiton including Obama's worst critic, Dick Cheney, have a lot to be thankful for from Pres. Obama. He kept the liberal hounds at bay.

    March 14, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I wonder what Hillary Clinton has to say about that list?? LANDSLIDE!

    March 14, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Loathstheright

    Mmmmm, I wonder why? I mean, he does have a brother who is a WAR CRIMINAL and is still at large.

    March 14, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Kweso

    Why didn't they invite G.W.? He's still around.

    March 14, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. KJ

    Ron Paul didn't speak at CPAC 2012, which is why he didn't win, his supporters didn't go as much. He was speaking in Maine for the caucuses which had to have a recount to say Romney won, instead.

    March 14, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. blake

    Why is this a surprise? Jeb Bush is a RINO and a Bush. Both very good reasons for conservatives not to align themselves with this man.

    March 14, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. DrWho

    Get Jeb in and we can go to war with Iran or North Korea, they really do have WOMD.

    March 14, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. hokiethug

    A neurosurgeon and Sarah Palin on the same list. That's hysterical.

    March 14, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. NickAnast

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    Obama spoiled the Bush name for many years, with his lies and deceit, about what Bush was "responsible for". Truth is one of Obama's big shortcomings. He doesn't know the meaning of the word.
    ---------------------
    Sorry, Rick, but Obama had absolutely nothing to do with Bush leaving office as a highly unpopular president whose name was - and still is - synonymous with "failure." Bush did it all by himself. He was so bad that even conservative talk show hosts and bloggers were openly questioning his intelligence (or lack thereof). And Jeb knows this. That's why he wants to stay under the radar as much as possible.

    March 14, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    No problems solvers on the list, but plenty of people who want to engage in what Newt Gingrich correctly described as " Right-Wing Social Engineering". Nothing like remaking our wonderful, free society into the kind of oligarchy Ayn Rand would have envisioned as ideal.

    March 14, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Peter

    #24 is obviously the most qualified.

    March 14, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. DurangoJack

    The fact that Sarah Palin is on the list shows how completely cuckoo CPAC is. Can you imagine a meeting of Democrats setting forth a ballot with Reverend Jeremiah Wright as a choice.

    March 14, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. just askin

    Rudy NYC
    ------
    Obama has tried to sweep the "war crimes" allegations against the Bush administration under the rug, and he has more or less succeeded at it
    ------
    war crimes? you mean like obama targeting people for drone killings, even americans, without due process? then killing innocent bystanders in the process? do you mean those obama war crimes?

    March 14, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    DrWho
    Get Jeb in and we can go to war with Iran or North Korea
    ---
    Obama is the one that has been threatening war with Iran. He says they will not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. Not containment, so that leaves only war.

    March 14, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Fuss over nothing. They can alway write in Bush's name and check the "other" box. A very medicore list of candidates.

    March 14, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. chuck

    l Jebbie boy isn;t going to far people..don't sweat it, aint gonna happen. MOSTLY DUE TO WAR CRMINAL BROTHER "w". who esentially ruined our country financially.Chrisite and Hillary will duke it out-may the best man win..

    March 14, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G wrote:

    Obama is the one that has been threatening war with Iran. He says they will not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. Not containment, so that leaves only war.
    ----------------
    "... leaves only war." Spoken like a true conservative. Cannot imagine any other scenarios, can you?

    March 14, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. craig

    Does anyone, beyond the dedicated few, truly believe the American People would elect another Bush?

    March 14, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. PaganScorp

    "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." Thats funny, I thought that was all Obama's doing. That's what the people of the right say isn't it?

    March 14, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. rs

    just askin

    Rudy NYC
    --
    Obama has tried to sweep the "war crimes" allegations against the Bush administration under the rug, and he has more or less succeeded at it
    --
    war crimes? you mean like obama targeting people for drone killings, even americans, without due process? then killing innocent bystanders in the process? do you mean those obama war crimes?
    ________________________

    No, I think he means by war crimes, lying to get a war started with Iraq, one that killed 125,000 innocent Iraqies, and created 2 million refugees- not to mention the more than 4,000 American war dead.

    Meanwhile on the drone front- if an American is fighting against the United States from within a foreign terrorist group, I think they have pretty well abridged their rights as citizens, don't you? Think people, think!

    March 14, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. yolanda

    I see "war criminal" used a number of times to describe Bush.....maybe so, but water boarding is not the same as assassination of U.S. citizens. Both Bush and Obama have hidden behind shady DOJ legal opinion to justify their actions, so if you're going to call Bush a war criminal be perpared to defend this administration's rationalization of the death of Anwar Awlaki.

    March 14, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @Rick McDaniel

    No surprise to me.

    Obama spoiled the Bush name for many years, with his lies and deceit, about what Bush was "responsible for"
    ========================================================
    As a career Soldier I personally knew some of the 4,500 Service-Members killed by the pointless war Bush and Cheney started using dishonest and cherry-picked intelligence. I'm upset with President Obama for not supporting a war crimes trial against those draft-dodging pieces of $h!+. Don't even bother mentioning Bush's Air Guard debacle – where he used his daddy's power to cut in line to train to fly an aircraft that was never to be flown in Vietnam then quit going to his drills. He and "Uncle Dick" should be in prison for life.

    March 14, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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