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Jeb Bush Jr. Endorses Huntsman

Jeb Bush Jr. Endorses Huntsman

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 10, 2011


Jeb Bush Jr., the 28-year-old son of Florida's popular former governor, is throwing his support behind presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

"To defeat the President in 2012, we need a candidate who will offer solutions. That man is Jon Huntsman," said Bush Jr. in a statement released by the Huntsman campaign. "I am confident that Jon's vision will appeal to young voters, who are concerned about the trillions of dollars in debt being piled on their backs, and who desperately seek jobs and economic opportunity."

On Tuesday, the Huntsman camp hinted news of a “major announcement” on the horizon, stirring up brief speculation that Jeb Bush Sr., perhaps the most coveted endorsement in Florida, was on board. His son’s endorsement, though not as powerful as his father's, could help Huntsman with Latino voters, a large constituency with whom Republicans are hoping to gain traction. Bush Jr., whose mother was born in Mexico, was an early supporter of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican Party star and son of Cuban-born parents who began his campaign as an underdog with low poll numbers.

Huntsman entered the Republican fray in June but has failed to gain traction in national surveys, consistently polling near the bottom of the pack. Bush Jr. made an optimistic comparison between the struggling presidential candidate and Rubio.

“Two years ago, I jumped on board Marco Rubio's campaign when he was polling at 3 percent, and we made history,” he said. “With Jon, I can't wait to make history again.”

The support could also give the former Utah governor a slight advantage in the critical state of Florida, which could be decisive in the Republican primary and is a state many political experts contend the GOP nominee can’t win the White House without. Huntsman’s campaign is headquartered in Orlando.

Bush Jr. will formally endorse Huntsman in Miami on Wednesday morning and announce his new post as national chairman of “GenH,” the campaign's youth and young professionals outreach. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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