US presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is set to speak to US expatriates in Hong Kong today as he looks to win support from the territory’s community of overseas voters.

The former Florida governor and establishment pick for the Republican nomination will reach out to Republican Party supporters in Hong Kong via conference call today in an effort to win the backing of local US expatriates.

Jeb Bush speaks to Hong Kon
Jeb Bush speaks to Hong Kong. Photo: HKFP.

The youngest scion of the Bush dynasty that has already produced two American heads of state has set out to win the support of centre-right Republicans concerned about choosing a nominee who is more palatable to the wider American electorate.

Whilst competitor Donald Trump has emerged as a forerunner thanks to his unapologetically populist rhetoric, observers say that minority voters and more moderate party members have felt alienated by his strongly anti-immigration stance.

2008 Republican presidential candidate and decorated veteran John McCain—whom Trump said is “not a war hero” due to his capture and five-year imprisonment by Viet Cong forces—has even accused the billionaire-turned-demagogue of catering to “the crazies” with his brash appeals to the party’s far right.

donald trump
Donald Trump. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Some members of Republicans Overseas have suggested that Bush, widely considered a moderate and pragmatist within the Republican spectrum, appeals more to some international audiences. Local GOP backers in Hong Kong, however, are still hedging their bets.

A representative from the Hong Kong chapter of Republicans Overseas told HKFP that the group “feel[s] blessed to have a real choice for our candidate rather than some sort of predetermined coronation,” adding that “any of the 16 or 17 Republican candidates for President would be a far superior choice to either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, whichever eventually makes it through Obama’s coronation process.”

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others