William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released more than 275,000 emails from his time as governor earlier this month. He released the massive cache in the name of “transparency,” but will other governors or former governors mulling a 2016 campaign for the White House follow suit?
ABC News reached out to every former or current governor mulling or even just flirting with a presidential bid and no one said they would release their emails in a similar fashion, though some declined to comment.
It’s important to note that given Florida’s accessible open records laws, it’s likely Bush also knew his emails would be released whether he was behind it or not. News organizations, including ABC News, got access to the emails before Bush released them thanks to those open records laws.
[READ ABC’s FULL REPORT ON JEB BUSH’s EMAILS]
An aide to former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — the only Democrat in the group — said he had no plans to release his emails.
An aide to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said his emails “were requested and released through public information requests,” while he was in office and noted Perry didn’t rely heavily on email, saying he typically conducted business over the phone or in person while in office for 14 years.
Open records laws in the state are very different than Florida, though. During Perry’s administration, emails were deleted every seven days and it was up to Perry’s staff to determine which emails would be considered public record and those would be printed or saved for seven days before being deleted, according to the Houston Chronicle, which points out the controversial policy has now been changed under Gov. Greg Abbott.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and former New York Gov. George Pataki — all Republicans — all declined to comment.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — also all Republicans — all did not respond to requests for comment.
In his e-book released this month, Bush wrote that when he was inaugurated in 1999, he “didn’t want to disappear into the governor’s office” and e-mail was the way he could “keep track of what Floridians were thinking. I needed their energy and passion and wisdom.”
Bush served two terms and said he “earned the nickname ‘The eGovernor,’” because he wrote back and forth with constituents, staff and even children “very early in the morning, late at night, or on Saturday.” He writes that he tried to reserve Sundays for his wife and three children, with “no emails,” but “didn’t always succeed.”
Each state does have their own open records laws and they can vary widely. It’s also important to note Bush was well out of office, since 2007, when he released his emails. Five of the governors we asked are still in office, including Christie, Pence, Jindal, Walker and Kasich.
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