© 2024 | WUWF Public Media
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
850 474-2787
NPR for Florida's Great Northwest
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jeb Bush Hosts Town Hall At Bay Center

Jeb Bush brings his Republican presidential campaign to Pensacola on Wednesday, hosting a town hall meeting at the Bay Center.

The former Florida governor comes to town trailing Donald Trump in the most recent Quinnipiac University poll by 20-17% nationwide. Bush led the poll in June with 20% of respondents. Peter Brown at Quinnipiac says much Bush’s slide can be traced to a certain real estate mogul you may have heard of.

“Donald Trump seems to be sucking up all the oxygen these days,” said Brown. “When someone does well, someone doesn’t do as well [in the polls]. There are only so many votes to go around, and obviously Mr. Trump has done well.”

Trump also leads Bush in Bush’s home state, 21-17%. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson are tied in third with 11%, with no other GOP candidate polling above seven percent.

“If he [Bush] is coming to the Panhandle, it’s because he feels he needs to tighten up his base. And one of Jeb’s big selling points is ‘I can win Florida.’ But if he can’t, he’s out of it,” said Charles Zelden, a political scientist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. He adds that Bush is not having a good election cycle, 15 months from the election and six months from primary season.

“His biggest problem is A-his last name, which is why it’s Jeb! with an exclamation point,” Zelden said. “And the second one is he’s just not a particularly talented politician. And it’s very hard to win the presidency if you don’t have those political chops.”

The former Florida governor will appear in one of the 2nd floor conference rooms at the Pensacola Bay Center. A spokesman says the Bush campaign requested a smaller room to accommodate about 300 people. Tickets were free, so turnout depends on the number of RSVPs.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush appears to have taken a page from the Trump playbook last week, referring to the children of Asians who come to the U-S to have them as “Anchor Babies.” That’s what Trump calls Hispanic kids born under the same circumstances.

“I was talking about a very narrow-casted system of fraud, where people are bringing pregnant women in to give birthright citizenship. I support birthright citizenship, by the way,” said Bush.

The doors at the Bay Center open at 11:30 Wednesday morning, with the town hall meeting scheduled for 12:30. An overflow room will be ready if needed.