Reporting Natalia Zea
MIRAMAR (CBSMiami) – In the midst of the chaos that has become early voting in South Florida, former Governor Jeb Bush hosted a charity golf tournament for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and also took time to speak exclusively to CBS4 News in support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Friday. He also spoke to CBS4′s Natalia Zea about the elections process.
“I voted absentee,” Bush said. “It’s a really long ballot. I encourage people to vote early if they can do so. My gosh, it was like 10 pages long and it was quite complicated.”
With just days left until the polls open on Tuesday, political pundits and scientists have said Florida is too close to call. Both campaigns are ready with lawyers if the race turns into a repeat of the 2000 election debacle.
“In 2000, we had a close election, we had counties, each one had a different way of counting ballots, different kinds of ballots,” Bush said. “We’ve standardized that I have no concerns about the elections systems here in Florida. It’ll go fine.”
Democrats in Florida have been crying foul over the early voting changes instituted by Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and the GOP-led legislature. The number of early voting days was slashed to just eight days and closed the Sunday before the election.
This has led to lengthy waits to vote in Miami-Dade County ranging from 45 minutes to upwards of 6 hours in some locations. In Aventura, police turned away potential voters because there was no more parking available.
Early voting typically leans Democratic, while absentee voting will tend to skew Republican in a general election.
Bush said he’s confident Romney will win Florida’s 29 electoral votes and the White House next Tuesday.
“I think Governor Romney’s gonna carry Florida, based on my gut and based on early voting and the intensity of the Republican side,” Bush said.
Bush also spoke about a topic he mentioned earlier in the week when he decried Obama for partisanship and then accused him of blaming others, specifically his brother, for the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression that started in 2007.
“That’s not leadership, leadership isn’t always blaming somebody else,” Bush said.
CBS4’s Natalia Zea then turned the conversation with Bush to the beleaguered campaign of Republican Miami-Dade Congressional Representative David Rivera. The incumbent representative has struggled in the race amidst a federal grand jury investigation and recently had 11 state ethics charges filed against him. Bush wouldn’t comment on the allegations, saying he didn’t know enough about them. But said he’d vote for Rivera if he could.
“It’s not my district, so I didn’t have a chance to vote for him, but if he was in my district, I’d vote for him over (Democrat) Joe Garcia any day of the week,” Bush said.
Bush said the country likely won’t be seeing his brother before Election Day. He is reportedly in the Cayman Islands speaking at an investment conference. But Bush pointed out that his brother has done some campaign events for Romney. This is in contrast to former President Bill Clinton who is actively criss-crossing the nation stumping for President Barack Obama.