Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pledged in South Carolina Thursday evening that he will achieve victory in the South’s first presidential primary next year.
“I’m going to win South Carolina, take it to the bank,” Bush told reporters, according to The Charleston Post and Courier. His boast came before a speech addressing the East Cooper Republican Women’s group in Mount Pleasant.
The Republican presidential candidate is making the Palmetto State a key focus of his 2016 Oval Office bid as he struggles for traction in the first voting states.
The Post and Courier said that Bush is already planning another visit to South Carolina next week. It added that he addressed a number of policy topics during a wide-ranging interview before approximately 275 listeners during his speech.
Bush admitted on Thursday that he has wrestled with the death penalty because of his conflicting views on compassion and justice.
“It was one of the hardest things I had to do as governor — was sign death warrants and participate in the execution process,” he said.
“The comfort I got of having to fulfill this was in the fact that there was a lot of closure for families,” Bush added.
Bush also argued that the Republican Party can do a better job of expanding its voter diversity.
“Our message needs to be heard across the country,” he said. “It can’t just be in the enclaves that agree with us.”