Political Notebook

Rep. Jeff Denham endorses Jeb Bush for president

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, has endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president.
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, has endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush might not be too popular with the hardcore conservatives in the central San Joaquin Valley, a group that is currently enchanted with businessman Donald Trump and has always liked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

But the former Florida governor is finding an ever-increasing amount of local support from the mainstream wing of the party. Already, he’s been endorsed by Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and is backed by some in the Valley’s agricultural sector, a group that not only is influential, but also has money.

Now, add Rep. Jeff Denham to Bush’s list of Valley supporters.

It might seem that Bush’s more moderate approach to immigration reform is what earned him Denham’s endorsement. After all, Denham represents an agriculture-heavy Valley district, and many in that sector are keen on seeing some sort of immigration reform that includes a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants currently in the country.

But the Turlock Republican is also a veteran, and in a statement on Bush, that is where Denham focused his comments.

“Governor Bush is a proven leader with an inclusive message and track record of success bringing people together to solve some of our most pressing problems,” Denham said. “As a veteran, I am confident that he will provide the care our vets deserve and act as a strong commander-in-chief who commands respect around the world.”

Bush this week rolled out his plank on veterans, a plan that includes reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs and fixing the troubled Veterans Health Administration. In an op-ed in the National Review, he wrote the “terrible scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs are a national disgrace.”