Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was stumping in his home state of Florida ta the National Urban League Conference on Friday trying to make inroads with the black vote.
Republicans hope Bush can win 14 percent of the black vote again like did in his 1998 run for the governor, reported National Journal.
Some even believe that he might be the GOP's only chance to score the black vote.
"It's the most underwritten story in Florida," Steve Schale, the Democratic strategist who worked on President Obama's Florida campaigns in both 2008 and 2012 when he won the state both times, told NJ.
Florida's black population is growing larger than the population as a whole and just a few thousand votes could make all the difference considering Florida has flipped Republican or Democrat by just a single percentage point in three of the last four elections.
Some in Florida's black community are very excited about Bush's prospects.
"I think Jeb Bush has a great chance. If folks don't judge him by his last name, by the 'R' next to his name, and he puts together a good effort … I think Jeb Bush could get 15 to 20 percent of the African-American vote," said the Rev. R.B. Holmes, a Tallahassee pastor who endorsed Bush in 1998 and 2002.
While George W. Bush won 13 percent of the black vote in 2004, blacks have been nearly monolithic in their support for President Obama, who garnered 96 and 95 percent in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Democratic State Senator Chris Smith, who endorsed Bush in 1998, said that his efforts are extremely important.
"If he can get double-digit black, he's the next president. If he's down in single digits, then he can't win," Smith said to the National Journal
The black vote was hugely responsible for Obama's success in 2008 and 2012 and Republicans are desperate to gain momentum and shave off a significant portion in future elections, but that may be easier said than done.
In an April 2015 Mason/Dixon poll, Bush only got five percent of the black vote in Florida against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
This mirrors a national July 2015 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling that reported Bush receiving only seven percent of the national black vote against Clinton.
While Bush hasn't been successful as of yet in courting more black votes, some Republicans on the state level have won a large percentage of their vote, including former Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell who won 40 percent in 2006 and former Arkansas Gov. and 2016 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee who garnered 48 percent in 1998.
If Bush or any of the other Republicans can replicate the success of Huckabee and Rell, it could lead to the White House.