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Jeb Bush, hurricane governor

He stands in a bunker, wearing no jacket and no tie, warning Floridians to board up their homes, heed evacuation orders and stock 72 hours' worth of food and water. Above him, a radar screen shows a menacing mess of winds and clouds swirling offshore.

This is the enduring image of Jeb Bush, hurricane governor.

Nine hurricanes slammed into Florida during Bush's time in office, eight of them in a dizzying, 14-month span in 2004-05 — a record-breaking number that defined Bush as a steady executive in the face of disaster, the kind of leader he'd like to portray to the rest of the country now that he's running for president and struggling to impress Republican voters.

"I believe it's important to have leaders that actually roll up their sleeves and solve problems," Bush said Friday in Ohio. "How would you liked to have been governor of a state that had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms, $100 billion of insured losses and billions of dollars of uninsured losses over 17 months? For me, it was the greatest joy of service that I could ever imagine....

"That's when we show what kind of leaders we are."

Bush will commemorate the storms at a town hall-style campaign event Wednesday in Pensacola. Even Floridians may need reminding of the storms Bush weathered: A Quinnipiac University poll published last week showed Bush trailing Donald Trump in Bush's home state.

Bush's ability to take charge in an emergency remains undisputed even among his critics, who note he left the Governor's Mansion 15 months after the last storm with a high, 64-percent approval rating.

"His popularity with Floridians is probably tethered to those moments probably more than any policy," said Democrat Dan Gelber, a former Miami Beach state senator.

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