Jeb Bush Making A Serious Push To Win Iowa?

Dean Chambers

While it appears the conventional wisdom was that Jeb Bush didn't need to finish strong in Iowa to win the GOP nomination in 2016, is the former Florida governor now making a more serious push to win Iowa? That appears to be the case now that he's a declared candidate and has immediately returned to campaign in Iowa, CNN Politics is reporting.

Dan Palz, who writes for the Washington Post, pointed out Bush's stop in Pella, Iowa, a smaller town that is not as often visited by presidential candidates.

"The place he went in Iowa this week were not the traditional big media market. He went to small towns," Balz said.

Balz suggested that this means Bush could be seeking to exceed expectations on how well he will do in the Iowa caucus. Candidates often gain an advantage not necessarily by winning in Iowa -- especially if they were not expected to win -- but instead by exceeding the expectations of conventional wisdom.

Jeb Bush, the candidate who has defined and positioned himself as the more "compassionate conservative candidate" for the 2016 GOP race, is campaigning in the regions of Iowa where Republicans are known to be less conservative, USA Today reports.

Bush has focused on visiting towns and cities in Eastern Iowa, where Republican voters are known to be not as conservative as the Republicans in the Western parts of the state. The campaign seems to believe visiting the more moderate areas benefits their candidate, who has taken more moderate stances on issues like immigration, Common Core education reform, and reducing carbon emissions to address climate change.

In a reference to the more conservative parts of Western Iowa, Grinnell College political science professor Barbara Trish said, "That's not very fruitful country (for Bush) over there, in the hotbed of (Congressman) Steve King."

Bush is seeking a "reset" and doubling down on his effort to be competitive in Iowa, Politico reports. Bush claims he will frequently campaign in Iowa now that he has officially announced his candidacy for president.

"Before Jeb Bush arrived this week for his first visit to Iowa as an official candidate, his campaign blasted out a list of local supporters to counter the perception that he's not playing to win in the first-in-the-nation caucus state," Politico reported.

The Bush campaign put out a list of more than a dozen endorsements by elected officials in Iowa, a list that some thought was short for a candidate as well connected as Jeb Bush. This has been one factor contributing to the conventional wisdom that Bush was not seriously seeking to win in Iowa. Bush was also one of the first candidates to withdraw from the now-canceled Iowa Straw Poll normally held during the summer before the Iowa caucus.

[Picture of Jeb Bush by Steve Pope for Getty Images]