Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential Republican presidential candidate, speaks fluent Spanish and is married to a Mexico-born philanthropist, but would that be enough to identify him as a Latino?

Bush's 2009 voter registration application revealed the former governor marked "Hispanic" in the form's "race/ethnicity" questionnaire. According to The New York Times, a Bush spokesperson "could offer no explanation for the characterization."

Jeb Bush Jr., the son of the former Florida governor, tweeted about the report. He wrote, "LOL - come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino." The potential presidential candidate replied back on Twitter, tweeting, "My Mistake! Don't think I've fooled anyone!"

Bush, however, has been referred to as the "Hispanic candidate" by Spanish-language media. During Univision's "Al Punto," anchor Jorge Ramos identified Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as the Hispanic presidential candidates, but he then suggested Bush, "if we want to convert him as Latino, too." Carlos Gutierrez, who was the commerce secretary during the George W. Bush administration, promoted Bush as a great leader, especially among other potential Republican Party candidates.

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The Spanish-language newspaper El Pais referenced Bush's Mexican wife and children as providing an "advantage" for the former governor to win the Latino vote. 

According to Quinnipiac University polling data, Bush narrowly managed to defeat potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Florida, home of the third-largest U.S. Latino population, with 45 percent to 42 percent. Clinton previously defeated Bush in polling conducted by Quinnipiac.

It is no secret the Republican Party is trying to appeal to the Latino electorate, as Latin Post reported, the Republican National Committee (RNC)  acknowledged the need to campaign among the Latino community. Following the 2012 election season, the RNC published the "Growth and Opportunity Project" report, which stated the GOP must "demonstrate we care about them, too."

"If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies," the report continued.

While the RNC is not a policy committee, the organization recognized the need to "embrace and champion" comprehensive immigration reform to help appeal to Latino voters. The report noted, "If we do not, our Party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all."


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