One accidental check mark in the wrong box can be enough to haunt a potential presidential candidate. That’s what former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush found out on Monday.
In a 2009 voter registration form obtained by The New York Times and published on Monday, Bush checked “Hispanic” under the race/ethnicity category. Early on Monday, Bush’s son tweeted to him saying, “LOL — come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino.” Bush responded with a mea culpa.
Bush, who is considering a bid for president, speaks fluent Spanish and married a woman who was born in Mexico. The Republican was born in Texas, a heavily Hispanic state, and he spent two years living in Venezuela, according to The New York Times. He is one of former President George H. W. Bush’s four sons, and the brother of former President George W. Bush. Both of his parents are Caucasian.
Bush netted 61% support among Latino voters in 1998 and 57% in 2002, which helped him win the Florida governorship both years, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
His wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Bush, who is bilingual, starred in three Spanish-language advertisements ahead of the midterm elections last year in an attempt to boost Republican candidates’ standing among Latino voters. He has been at odds with other members of his party over his moderate position on immigration reform.
In December, Bush announced he was weighing a presidential bid. Since then, Texas Gov. Ted Cruz declared his intent to run for president in the next election. But Bush isn’t the only one facing questions about his heritage. Critics of Cruz have asked him to explain his connection to Canada — the presidential hopeful was born in Calgary. President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, his Republican opponent, in 2008 both had to provide details about their birthplaces and presidential eligibility.
Former first lady Barbara Bush recently changed her mind about having a second son in the White House. She told the “Today” show in 2013 “we’ve had enough Bushes” as presidents.
Former President George W. Bush previously said he thinks his brother would “absolutely” beat Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 presidential run. Former Secretary of State Clinton has not yet announced her campaign, though she is likely to jump in the race this spring and has already signed a lease for a headquarters in Brooklyn.