SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Presidential contender Jeb Bush used the ride-sharing service Uber to arrive Thursday at a startup where he was expected to talk up the benefits of small business and entrepreneurship as part of a fundraising swing through the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bush pulled up at Thumbtack headquarters in the front seat of a black Toyota Camry being driven for Uber.
Uber connects travelers with various cars through its smartphone app. Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so they aren’t eligible for overtime pay, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation.
Bush’s potential rival, Hillary Clinton, has promised to crack down on companies that wrongly classify workers as contractors. She has praised the “gig economy” for creating exciting opportunities but has also said it is raising hard questions about workplace protections.
Bush’s visit to San Francisco, a Democratic stronghold and home to U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, comes as a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that negative views of the former Florida governor have ticked up.
Forty-four percent say they have an unfavorable view, up from 36 percent in April.
Among Republicans, 53 percent have a favorable view and 27 percent have an unfavorable view of Bush.
Bush and supporting super PACs have raised a combined $114 million for the 2016 presidential campaign, outraising other candidates in the jam-packed GOP field.
Donald Trump recently has emerged as a front-runner in the GOP field, drawing attention and criticism for his tough talk on illegal immigration.
San Francisco has been a focal point of the immigration debate following the arrest of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican who had been deported five times and now is charged with killing a woman while she walked on a pier with her father.
Bush has been among the GOP candidates who have criticized Trump’s harsh comments claiming Mexico is sending its criminals to the United States.
After visiting Thumbtack, Bush is scheduled to attend a fundraising luncheon in Silicon Valley. There also was a $2,700-per-person reception at a home in San Francisco on Wednesday night.
Thumbtack was started by CEO Marco Zappacosta and President Jonathan Swanson. They served as aides to economic advisers in the White House administration of Jeb’s older brother, George W. Bush.
Thumbtack aims to link people with service providers without the usual back and forth of phone calls or emails. Customers go online to specify what they want — for example, a portrait photographer for a specific date — and the company returns up to five names of providers that fit the bill, with bid prices attached.
The company is named after the longtime practice of people who advertise their services via a notice tacked to a bulletin board.
Thumbtack spokeswoman Michele Husak said the visit is not an endorsement of Bush’s candidacy.
“Any politician who reaches out to us,” she said, “we’re happy to welcome them.”