Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush filed a new voter registration form this week following an uproar over a recently surfaced copy of his 2009 registration that identified him as Hispanic. Bush’s newly filed form identifies the likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate as white and was filed on the day that news reports brought to light his erroneous registration form, BuzzFeed reported Friday.
Bush brushed off the error as an honest mistake in a Twitter post following the New York Times’ publication of his Miami-Dade County voter registration application Monday. “My mistake!” he wrote. “Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!”
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) April 6, 2015
Bush, who is “actively exploring” a 2016 presidential run, has a long history of connecting with Hispanic voters, particularly during his governorship of Florida, a state where Hispanics make up 23 percent of the population. The politician’s personal background has helped in this regard: Bush speaks fluent Spanish, having lived in Venezuela for two years in his 20s, and his wife of 21 years, Columba Bush, is Mexican, while their three Mexican-American children identify as Latino.
These connections once led the Cuban-born former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez to declare Bush “just as Hispanic as everyone in this room and maybe a little more,” at a Hispanic Leadership Network conference in 2013. The distinction has lent considerable weight to Bush’s political aspiration as his unusual links to the Latino community help set him apart in a field of GOP politicians that have struggled to connect to the fastest-growing voter demographic in the U.S., the Washington Post reported.
However, confusions about the heritage of political candidates have in the past proven tricky for candidates on the campaign trail. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, had to battle accusations that she misrepresented herself as Native American during her 2012 Senate campaign.