Less than 48 hours from the Iowa caucuses, Jeb Bush‘s campaign announced endorsements from three former governors: Frank Keating of Oklahoma; Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho and Rhode Island’s Lincoln Almond.
Bush, who served as Florida governor from 1999 through 2007, also won praise Thursday in an op-ed penned by Mike Johanns, the former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. senator and governor of Nebraska. Johanns’ editorial appeared in the Daily Nonpareil, based in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
According to campaign officials, the trio of gubernatorial endorsements brings the number to 15 former governors, who have publicly come out saying the Republican presidential candidate has both the disposition and experience necessary to be commander in chief.
“Jeb Bush was a mentor governor. He is humble and good and a thorough-going patriot,” Keating said in a statement. “These are awful times. We need a mature and strong man at the helm. Jeb is that man. The presidency is not a frivolity. It is the ultimate in leadership. The times are too turbulent to choose a captain who has never paddled a boat.”
Kempthorne, as a past U.S. Interior Secretary, was encouraged by Bush’s proposed lands and resource management plan, issues he says are what matter to Idaho, Nevada, and other Western states.
“Beyond that,” Kempthorne added, “I know Jeb Bush to be a conservative, a man of character, and someone who brings tremendous judgment to public office. Our party needs a nominee we know will uphold our conservative values because he has a track record of doing so, and without question, will bring those values to the Oval Office.”
Almond, who served as Governor the same time as Bush, believes that there was no Republican governor in the country with “more innovative ideas” that truly changed his or her state.
“We marveled at what Jeb was doing in Florida,” Almond added, “and I greatly respected his skills as a policy innovator. It would be a grave mistake to nominate someone who has no policy platform, has been all over the place on our party’s core beliefs, or who has never managed anything meaningful.”
In his endorsement, Johanns said Bush stands above the other Republican candidates who adopted “protectionist policies” of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“Jeb is a trusted free trader who understands the importance of opening foreign markets to U.S. agriculture exports,” he writes. “Jeb is the right candidate to strengthen America’s economic security, and he is easily the most qualified person to become the next commander in chief.”
Johanns also called Bush “a transformational governor in Florida,” someone who will do the same in the White House to “keep us safe while lifting our nation to new heights.”
The other former governors supporting Jeb Bush are:
– Governor Jim Edgar (IL)
– Governor Luis Fortuno (PR)
– Governor Judd Gregg (NH)
– Governor John “Jock” McKernan (ME)
– Governor Bill Owens (CO)
– Governor Tom Ridge (PA)
– Governor Bob Riley (AL)
– Governor Jane Swift (MA)
– Governor Fife Symington (AZ)
– Governor Tommy Thompson (WI)
– Governor Bill Weld (MA)