Jeb Bush to announce candidacy June 15

02:12 - Source: CNN
Jeb Bush announces 2016 plans

Story highlights

He'll make his announcement in Miami

In CNN/ORC poll, Bush is at 13%

Washington CNN —  

Jeb Bush will officially announce he is running for president on June 15, formalizing his high profile campaign that has been ramping up all year amid a growing 2016 Republican field seeking the nomination.

The former Florida governor, who until now has toured the country as a prospective presidential candidate will drop all pretense and launch his campaign at the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus.

Since making his presidential intentions clear at the end of 2014, Bush has been seen as the top prospect to win his party’s nomination and has spent the last months before his campaign launch raking in cash from the GOP establishment’s top donors. However, he has yet to breakthrough as his party’s frontrunner, as many have seen his Miami neighbor Sen. Marco Rubio rising in the polls.

Bush teased the official announcement on Twitter on Thursday morning with a “Coming soon…” tweet that linked to a “jebannouncement.com” where he supporters were prompted to sign up to get a chance to register to attend the event. The website is funded by “Jeb 2016, Inc.”

“He’s ready,” a Bush aide told CNN.

The location at Miami Dade College is no surprise for a candidate who has made education one of his central policy goals throughout his career and leading into his presidential run. The college is the largest in the state of Florida.

In Florida, Bush marks his territory

The campaign is also launching from Bush’s home city, roots he’ll be counting on as he competes with his fellow Floridian, Rubio, for the title of favorite son in the state’s GOP primary.

And lately, it’s looked like Rubio will be Bush’s top competition. Rubio claimed the top spot in the latest CNN/ORC poll released this week that puts Rubio at 14%.

Bush came in second with a virtual tie at 13% and the rest of the pack close behind as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also seen as a top prospect, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both snagged 10% in the poll.

Bush fights lonely battle defending Common Core

The growing field has made it difficult for any candidate – not just Bush – to runaway with the lead. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will become the tenth declared candidate on the Republican side Thursday, and this week Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal scheduled plans to announce a presidential bid June 24.

Bush also faces an uphill climb to a first primary win in the early states, particularly in Iowa, where the state’s heavily conservative Republican caucus-goers are questioning Bush’s conservative credentials.

That’s because Bush’s positions on a couple of key issues haven’t sat well with his party’s conservative base. Bush stands alone among the 2016 field with his support of the Common Core educational standards that have come to be a key litmus test among conservatives.

Bush knocks brother George on spending

And the former Florida governor, who is fluent in Spanish and whose wife is Mexican, also voiced support for immigration reform that includes giving illegal immigrants a path to legal status – still a tough sell for many Republicans.

Bush’s ties to the Latino community though would play well in the general election, where Latinos will be a key voting block to win over in forging a path to victory.

CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report.