Jeb Bush claimed he was Hispanic on a voter registration form.

Jeb Bush Claimed He Was Hispanic on a Voter Registration Form

Jeb Bush Claimed He Was Hispanic on a Voter Registration Form

The Slatest
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April 6 2015 10:34 AM

Jeb Bush Claimed He Was Hispanic on a Voter Registration Form 

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, who was born in Mexico, wave to the crowd as they are seated on the inaugural stage on Jan. 20, 2005, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has long seen his appeal among Hispanic voters as one of his strongest weapons. Spanish-language news outlets have frequently referred to Bush as a “Hispanic candidate.” And it seems the brother of former President George W. Bush agreed—at least in 2009, when he claimed he actually was Hispanic on a voter registration application, marking that box in the race/ethnicity field, reveals the New York Times. The Times posts a copy of that application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, online. The form is difficult to read, but it’s evident that the circle marked “Hispanic” was checked. The next circle over is “White, not Hispanic.”

The Times got in touch with a spokeswoman for Texas-born Bush but she was not able to explain why the son of former President George H.W. Bush would have characterized himself as Hispanic. “According to the Florida Division of Elections, the application requires an original signature because the voter is swearing or affirming an oath,” notes the Times.

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Bush has barely hidden that he wants to run for president, but he has yet to make an official announcement. And that likely won’t come for a while. The former governor does not hold federal office and has the support of big donors, meaning that he “is ideally positioned to take advantage of massive holes that have been poked in campaign finance laws in recent years,” notes the Los Angeles Times. As long as he doesn’t actually announce his candidacy, “Bush contends that he can raise and spend unlimited sums through a so-called super PAC under his control.” A senior counsel with the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center calls Bush’s strategy “entirely new ground,” adding that “no candidate or prospective candidate has ever done this before.”

UPDATE at 12:05 p.m.: Bush made light of the report on Twitter, calling it a mistake:

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.