Former Florida governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush marked himself down as "Hispanic" in a voter registration application form in 2009, the New York Times reported Monday.
Gauging from how the Bush camp reacted, it appears to be a mistake. The Times said a Bush spokesman "could offer no explanation" for why he put himself down as Hispanic, and his own son called him out on Twitter:
Jeb Bush’s 2009 Voter-Reg Application http://t.co/MLQwjorT9U@JebBush LOL - come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino— Jeb Bush, Jr. (@JebBushJr) April 6, 2015
Byron York of the Washington Examiner said a Bush spokesperson told him that it was an error made at some point.
Bush spokesperson on 2009 'Hispanic' voter registration form: 'It's unclear where the paperwork error was made…'— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 6, 2015
More Bush spokesperson: 'The Governor's family certainly got a good laugh out of it. He is not Hispanic.'— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 6, 2015
Bush himself later tweeted, "my mistake!"
My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone! RT @JebBushJr LOL - come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) April 6, 2015
However, the form is likely to reinforce the skepticism many have about Bush and his feelings about immigration, a key issue for conservatives as the 2016 election approaches. Bush has said he supports a plan that would require illegal immigrants to pay fines and taxes and follow the law, which would put them on a path to legal status.
But that's too far for many conservatives, who say current law needs to be followed and millions of illegal immigrants deported. That position has hardened over the last several years, especially in light of two major moves by President Barack Obama to provide legal protections for millions of illegal immigrants.
Bush's wife, Columba, is a Mexican native, and Bush himself speaks Spanish, factors that could help him pick up some of the Latino vote if he runs for the White House.