Western Conservatives High on Ben Carson, Allen West, Low on Jeb Bush

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 14, 2014 3:55 AM
Allen West, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson

Allen West, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson

Two African-American Republicans with eyes on 2016 -- U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., and Dr. Ben Carson -- will be taking center stage when both speak at the three-day Western Conservative Summit taking place in Denver, Colo., July 18-20. This annual conference has been held in Denver since 2010.

Sunshine State News talked to John Andrews, the chairman of the Western Conservative Summit and director of the Centennial Institute, on how West, Carson and other potential Republican presidential candidates from Florida are seen by conservatives in Colorado and the region.

Asked about reactions to both West and Carson, Andrews said both men were picking up steam in the Mountain West.

“I would say that you can’t underestimate the excitement ... for both of these Floridians,” Andrews told Sunshine State News. “Especially Carson.”

Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon who entered the political realm in 2013, when he criticized President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law at the National Prayer Breakfast, has increasingly shown signs of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. After retiring from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, Carson -- who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor -- is now based out of West Palm Beach.

Andrews referenced Carson’s speech, saying “he electrified the country” and said Western conservatives were “excited and intrigued about whether he’d run for president.”

Praising Carson as an innovator, Andrews said his background would help him deal with Obama’s health-care law. “He’s got so much credibility with his medical background,” Andrews said, pointing toward Carson’s “calm, cool, common-sense logic.”

Turning to West, Andrews said the former congressman was “well-received” at last year’s summit and he could have beaten out U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to win the presidential straw poll had he spoken before it. This year, the straw poll won’t close until all of the potential candidates speak.

Despite losing to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., in 2012, West has remained politically active, backing candidates through his Allen West Guardian Fund PAC and leaving the door open to an electoral comeback in 2016. West has expressed some interest in running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 but he has also said he would look at running for the U.S. Senate if U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., opts not to run for a second term.

Asked about other potential candidates from Florida, Andrews said Rubio had some support in the region despite his position on immigration reform.

“Western conservatives have a lot of admiration for Rubio,” Andrews said, though he warned it was “tempered” by immigration reform, before looking at former Gov. Jeb Bush.

“I can’t say the same thing about Jeb Bush,” Andrews said, even as he praised the former governor’s work on education reform. While Andrews called Bush a “hero” for his work on education, he added that the former Florida governor’s support for Common Core has “tarnished” him with Western conservatives. Andrews also said Bush’s position on immigration, such as criticizing Arizona’s law, and his father and brother also serving in the White House, have undermined his standing with conservatives.

“Between Common Core, immigration and the Bush family, Western conservatives would not be warm to an address from Gov. Bush,” said Andrews.

Seeing the Republican primaries as the most open since Wendell Wilkie won the nomination in 1940, Andrews told Sunshine State News that Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., is a dark horse worth keeping an eye on. Noting Walker was currently facing accusations of campaign finance abuses, Andrews said he was a politician with “substance over charisma” and a solid, conservative record in office.

Besides Carson and West, other speakers at the event include Cruz, former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (7)

Florida Cracker
11:25AM JUL 18TH 2014
If those two could work together to be POTUS and VPOTUS, WOW!!! America could be saved!! I TRULY believe!!
well the reason they are low on Jeb is
3:29PM JUL 14TH 2014
"I can’t say the same thing about Jeb Bush,” Andrews said, even as he praised the former governor’s work on education reform."

Is that a typo? Could that remark have been "the former governor’s work on education deform?"

Do yo want to know why the USA is up to out eyeballs in Muslims?
Jeb Bush's push for charter school conversions starting with Muhammed Fethullah Gülen the Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and Islamic opinion leader. He is the founder of the Gülen movement. He currently lives in a self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, United States.

And the Bush education "deforms" have funded millions of grants and tax dollars into this muslim movement. They also have Gary Grappo a former Bush appointed Ambassador to Omen setting up their charter schools and converting as many public schools to for profit charter as possible.

Brother George W. Bush and his No Child Left Behind funds their Common Core movement. Brother Neil Bush with partners Bush(43) and Moma Pearls along with their Saudi Prince friend and a Russian Mobster running IGNITE LEARNING, INC. collecting millions for their COW.

And let us not forget their brother Barack O'Bush and his Race to the Top and all those grants designed to reward all those states for jumping on their Common Core without hassling them and demanding some truth like the good little followers and conformists they expect everyone to be.

Yea Jeb Numbers are low! Even the stupid people can see that Jeb and Barack are in the same sack with a number of things. That's why they work so hard to put their other "comrades" in place Like Marco Rubio and don't forget Jeb has George P. Bush going into office in Texas in January 2015 - just in time for grooming for all these new voters brother Barack is taxi-ing around the USA! The problem is we can;t vote them out because they not only control the vote machines, but they train their replacements to lie so well it's hard to figure out who they are really in bed with!
Florida Cracker
11:28AM JUL 18TH 2014
I was a Jeb fan when he was Governor. I do not like "Dynasties" of ANY kind...GOP/DNC...Bush/Clinton. That rigs the system to become an Oligarchy. NO! to Jeb! No! to Hillary! VOTE LIBERTARIAN for real, AMERICAN-style change!!
les coleman
10:29AM JUL 14TH 2014
West big on West? GOP LOSES . Voters tired of grid lock right.
erik brown
10:22AM JUL 14TH 2014
When Allen west was running for congress I attended his debate at Bethesda church in Palm Beach and was confronted by his supporters in Para-military outfits (reminded me of Hell's Angels ) Scary Dude!!!
9:10AM JUL 14TH 2014
Gee . . . . you might be right . . . . Wendell Wilkie is probably a good model for what might happen to such a Republican candidate . . . . please, please, GOP, nominate ANY combination of West, Carson, Cruz, Bachmann, Walker, Jindal or Palin . . . . . PLEASE! . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
4:07PM JUL 14TH 2014
I'm with Frank. I think a West/Cruz......or maybe a Cruz/West ticket would destroy Hillary. Haaaaaaaaa.

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