Chris Christie and Jeb Bush early hopefuls in 2016 Republican primary race

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seeks favor with Independents; meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces new controversy, Reuters and New York Times reported. Both are vying for the Republican nomination in 2016 and stand out in the unusually large field of GOP

Bush, who is the brother of former president George W. Bush, visited Tallahassee, FL on Tuesday to speak about immigration and education reform. He set himself apart from hardline members of the party when he said he viewed immigration as a potential source of economic growth.

“People, the best and brightest around the world, want to come here, so we should fix our immigration system,” Bush said during an exclusive luncheon.

However, he also stressed his support for securing the borders.

Florida is the largest swing state and is likely crucial to Republican hopes of regaining the White House. Bush said he seeks to appear as a “mainstream alternative,” Reuters reported, and is considered a frontrunner in the Republican primary.

Bush discussed education policy at a conference hosted by the Foundation for Florida’s Future.

Conservative wings of the party are wary of his support for common core standards, Reuters reported.

The Common Core Standards Initiative seeks to standardize educational standards across states and ensure that high school graduates are prepared for either higher education or the workforce. As governor, he championed standardized testing as a major part of his education reforms but suggests a middle ground could be found if he makes it to the Oval Office.

“You can alleviate people’s fears that you’re going to have some kind of control by the federal government of content or curriculum or even standards…I’m against all that,” Bush said. Bush also released thousands of emails from his tenure as chief executive of Florida.

He and his advisers believe this will provide proof of a leader at ease with connecting with and responding to his constituents.

During his two terms as governor, Bush earned the nickname “the eGovernor” because he made his email address public and spent 30 hours a week answering emails, Reuters reported.

Chris Christie, while not the first politician to accept expensive gifts and favors, is attracting controversy for accepting gifts from those who stand to benefit from his influence. In 2012, the King of Jordan paid $30,000 for Christie and his family to travel to Jordan.

Spokesperson Maria Comella said, “King Abdullah invited the governor and his family to Jordan as his personal guests so the two families could spend time together,” New York Times reported.

Also according to the Times, Christie used a private plane belonging to Sheldon G. Adelson, a casino owner who opposed a 2013 bill to allow online gambling in New Jersey. The bill went through, but Adelson said Christie told him he vetoed it.

However, in the past Republicans in the New Jersey Legislature have changed sides rather than override Christie. Comella also said Adelson had not been personally lobbying against the bill. Christie himself has not disputed the details of the trip.

Christie sparked an ethics inquiry after using a private plane belonging to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to attend games.

Jones’ company obtained a contract with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey after Christie recommended them for it, the Times reported.

During his tenure as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, he was known for overspending on hotel stays more than any other prosecutor. His spending prompted the Department of Justice to tighten regulations regarding exemptions for lavish hotels.

-Dionna Cheatham ’15, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor

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