DES MOINES – Jeb Bush grilled pork chops, enjoyed a beer and sampled fried Snickers – all while wearing monogrammed cowboy boots and meeting voters – during a four-hour long visit to the Iowa State Fair on Friday.
“Fantastic, really enjoyed it,” Bush said as he left. “Trying to break the course record for the number of handshakes in a four hour period.”
Bush seemed to relish the opportunity to interact freely with voters – stopping every few feet – to shake hands and pose for photos, saying that living in Miami prepared him well for the Iowa heat.The Iowa State Fair comes at a tricky time for the former Florida governor, who has been slipping in recent polls in the Hawkeye State. In the latest CNN/ORC survey, Bush fell to seventh with likely caucus-goers in Iowa, with just 5% support among Republicans. Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul, came in first with 22%, followed by Ben Carson with 14%, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 9% and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 8%. Both Carly Fiorina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also edged out Bush with 7% support.
Bush, who has said his campaign is focused on the “long haul,” was joined at points in his visit by both of Iowa’s Republican senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, as well as the state’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad.
Branstad and Bush took to the Iowa Pork Producers Association gill where Bush told the crowd he’s used to manning the grill for his own family on the weekends.
“They look pretty good to me,” Bush said of the chops. “I think we’ve got it under control.”
At the beer tent, the candidate moved from table to table, sitting and chatting with families and hearing from one young man about his struggles to achieve in-state tuition for college.
Bush then he hit the midway and stopped at the bullpen where he clocked a 44 mile per hour throw and won an inflatable baseball bat decorated in a dollar bill pattern.”
“We gotta have a strong dollar,” Bush said upon receiving the prize.
No fair visit is complete without sampling a fried delicacy - opting for a Snickers - Bush dusting powdered sugar from his lips in satisfaction as he stepped away from the booth.
“I actually got away with not eating a whole lot,” Bush told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.
Bush signed a life-size photo of himself on the wall of the state GOP stand before posing for more pictures with supporters and ending his day.