Big CPAC surprise: Jeb Bush not on ballot
March 14th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
10 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.

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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. Boomer in Mo

    Jeb has the nasty habit of thinking for himself. That is no longer allowed if you are a Republican.

    March 14, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. 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". Truth is one of Obama's big shortcomings. He doesn't know the meaning of the word.

    March 14, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Ol' Lefty

    No more Bushes! That is all.

    March 14, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Natalie

    I see they still have their roster of idiots...including nonetheless...Palin. Wow, does the GOP never learn? And the one sane one who should be on the list but isn't is Jon Huntsman. What's up with these people?

    March 14, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. gandoman

    Jeb Bush, which is written on the t-shirt he wears whenever hanging out with his brother, George '3 below plant life' Bush understands (having inherited some brains) that the Bush name is eerily similar to other infamous names in history.
    Marie Antoinette – "Let them eat cake" / George Bush Sr " – "Do Americans really do their own shopping?"
    Neville Chamberlain – "Peace for our time" / George Bush Jr. – "There are WMD's in Iraq"
    Can America afford to get it wrong a 3rd time?

    March 14, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -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". Truth is one of Obama's big shortcomings. He doesn't know the meaning of the word.
    So, Obama determines who is on the CPAC ballot? Does his arm really reach that far into the nether regions?

    March 14, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. 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.
    Obama had some help. Plenty of help, in fact. Help was pouring in from all directions: left, right, up down and all around.

    March 14, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. ritmocojo

    Thank you Jeb. It would be too much deja vu all over again, again.

    March 14, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. rs


    Be real. What G.W. Bush did, he did all on his own. Two wars, cutting taxes while at war, asleep at the switch for 9/11, absolute arrogance, and more Even CPAC has a budding sense of reality!

    March 14, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    Big Al

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

    so says the person who participated in Timothy Leary's experiments in the 60's. And Jethro will never be POTUS since his half-witted brother make the name Bush toxic

    March 14, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Why should it be a surprise? Hasn't his family killed enough Americans and committed their share of war crimes???

    March 14, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Larry L

    I've never seen a list of politicians I've respected less. Ted Cruz? Jan Brewer? Is hateful, narrow-minded, extremist behavior a requirement? No wonder Jeb didn't want to be on the ballot. He hasn't had time to convince the Republicans that he's crazy enough to win the primary. Nobody on that list could win the General Election.

    March 14, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Sly

    So Bush is not conservative?

    All Bush's are complete idiots, and stand zero chance of ever being elected ... so let this Jeb fella go away quietly.

    Tea Party? (Cpac). Obsolete – they will go the way of the Palin ... drifting into obscurity.

    Democrats represent America. President Obama is doing a terrific job restoring this nation from the Bush Economic Collapse. And in 2016, of course America will elect another Democrat. Go stock market! Go jobs! This country is cookin'!

    March 14, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Seattle Sue

    I never wanted to hear the name Bush again, much less vote for a Bush.

    March 14, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. simp

    @ Rick Mcdaniel comment "Obama spoiled the bush name for many years"

    LMAO Really? The bush's didnt need any help messing up their name, they can do that all by themselves. You people blame the President for everything it's so stupid. Bush was responsi ble for so many things, where have you been?

    March 14, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. John W

    Good. I couldn't be happier to hear this news. The rest of your thoughts, I don't really care. Just wanted to share mine since you all think people care. 🙂

    March 14, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ray E. (Georgia)

    Former GOP,
    You on food Stamps now? I was born and raised in a Northen State. And Allen West still speaks the truth. Your Democrat friends in the Senate is trying to raise taxes. Your Taxes. They are advocating closing Loopholes for business. Gusee who isn't moving back to the U.S. Beggers can't be choosers as much as they try. You don't have to ask me, just ask the Auto Workers.
    Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the "Nothen States": what I am certain of is that the Righties pick the path of least resistance each time, and scream when any real obligations come up( Ted Nugent, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney spring to mind). They ignore the ones who are best qualified in the GOP to unite the nation in favor of those who chose division, anger, and a set of tired slogans built around a warped interpretation of Christianity, our flag and the Constitution.

    March 14, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Tom

    It raises the question of how much value is there in being near the top of a list created by the more extreme arm of the Republican party in 2013? A big part of running for President is raising money. A poor showing in this poll might hurt potential fundraising. I doubt Jeb Bush would wind up in the top 10 candidates, so it was probably a good choice to opt out. I think there is a case to be made for staying off the radar for a couple of years, let the usual suspects throw mud on each other, then emerge as a fresh candidate later in the cycle.

    March 14, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Bush fatigue

    I have a hatful of TP fatigue. I need a different list.

    Too many radically conservative people here. I don't want just "electability", I also want the sanity of the middle. What happened to my father's conservative party? Where have you all gone? I mean... maybe Ayotte.

    March 14, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Chris

    Heck, it can't get any worse than what we've have now in the White House. Obama has proven that since he's been in office. Right now we are so far at the bottom the only way from here is up.

    March 14, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. rs

    Jeb Bush will be forever remembered and questioned about: his role in the S & L crisis; and the whole Florida election debacle. He's essentially unelectable.

    The bigger question is why is somene like Huntsman not on the list? Especially in light of the inclusion of Brewer?

    March 14, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. dee1030

    When I read this list I was left speechless!

    March 14, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Parfin Woodell

    A little early to re-load the clown car, isnt it ?
    This should be fun.

    March 14, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. patiat

    With the likes of Sam Brownback and Jan Brewer in the top five, how do these blowhards really expect to accomplish anything?

    March 14, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Bermille

    They are all robots of each other.

    March 14, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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