Jeb Bush’s campaign is considering giving former President George W. Bush a bigger role on the trail in South Carolina as the campaign looks to give the former Florida governor a boost in the key primary state of South Carolina, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
According to the Times, campaign advisers in South Carolina have asked for George W. Bush to visit South Carolina in a more public capacity — the former president has only appeared at private fundraisers so far. The campaign must decided whether the boost from George W. Bush’s popularity in the state would be worth risking painting Jeb as a legacy and opening him up to more attacks from Democrats.
“I do think he’s an asset, and we need him down here — and Barbara, too,” Sally Atwater a Republican activist South Carolina, told the Times, referring to George W. Bush and his mother. “Folks have a relationship with these people already. That’s important. And you need to play off of that.”
When asked about potential for a visit from the 43rd president, Jeb Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller told the Times, “To the extent it makes sense on the campaign, we’re going to be happy to have his support, and I know President Bush is willing to help.”
“Jeb is running on his record, but there is obviously tremendous respect for and good will toward President Bush in the party and beyond thanks to his leadership in a time of crisis for this country,” Miller continued.
Barry Winn, the Jeb campaign’s South Carolina co-chair, told the Times that he had asked for Barbara or George W. Bush to submit the paper work to place Jeb on the ballot. The campaign sent George P. Bush, the candidate’s son.
“I said our first choice is Barbara and our second choice is George W.,” Wynn said. “There’s no question that George W. is probably as popular here as anywhere outside of Texas.”