Republican Andy Vidak, the newly elected California state senator from Fresno, won a heavily Democratic and Hispanic district in last week's special election. The Washington Times reports that Vidak succeeded because he and other local Republicans showed up:
Fresno cherry farmer and cattle rancher Andy Vidak, who is fluent in Spanish, said he captured the state Senate seat in last week's closely watched runoff vote by connecting with Hispanic voters with a "common-sense" approach that focused on job creation, affordable energy and opposition to big government. He even cooked menudo, a cow-stomach soup and a Mexican favorite, at a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event at the Bakersfield fairgrounds where 10,000 Hispanics turned out.
He got a big assist from other GOP officeholders and hundreds of Spanish-speaking Republican volunteers going door to door, making pitches in Spanish where necessary in the 60 percent Hispanic district. Mr. Vidak also managed to create a little political daylight from hard-liners in his party on the issue of eventually granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.
"We talked to them in their homes, where they are most comfortable on the issues that matter most to them: improving the economy, lower taxes, less government interference with small business," Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen said.
“You’ve got to go to the events,” says Blake Farenthold, the sophomore Republican congressman from Corpus Christi. “You’ve got to do the same sort of outreach to Hispanics that you do to any other group. They want to see their congressman.”
Farenthold was first elected to the House in 2010, defeating a 14-term Democratic incumbent in a district that was 70 percent Hispanic and bordered Mexico. The race was close—within about 800 votes—but Farenthold appealed to white and Hispanic Democrats alike by arguing that their party had moved too far to the left on issues like abortion and health care. After redistricting, he’s in a much safer Republican district, but 49 percent of his constituents are Hispanic. Farenthold, echoing a common Republican talking point, says Hispanics in his district are naturally conservative, particularly on social and cultural issues. The GOP could do better, he says, if they made that argument to Hispanics directly.
“You just show up and be part of their community,” he tells me, but immediately shakes the idea away. “It’s not even ‘their’ community, it’s the community.”
How do you succeed in wooing Hispanics without really trying? Rick Perry may have the answer. In 2010, running for his third full term, the Republican governor won the support of more than 400,000 Hispanic voters in Texas, his best performance to date. Perry didn’t need to win that many—Texas is still deep red, and he had won his last two elections pretty easily. But even had he needed the votes, it isn’t Perry’s style to make an explicitly ethnic pitch to a minority group.
Marietta, Ga. The 2004 presidential election was the Republican party’s high-water mark with Hispanic voters. George W. Bush received between 40 and 44 percent of the Hispanic vote that year. Bush lost Hispanic Catholics to John Kerry, but he overwhelmingly won Hispanic evangelicals, 69 percent to Kerry’s 29 percent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest change in employment over the last month affected black workers. In September, the unemployment rate for blacks was 13.4 percent. In October, that number jumped to 14.3 percent, an almost a full percentage point change, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployment for whites remained steady at 7 percent.
Likewise, the unemployment rate remain unchanged for teenagers (23.7 percent) and adult men (7.3 percent).
MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked the co-chair of the Democratic party's convention, L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, why there are more Republican women and Hispanic governors:
"Let me ask you though, this one question, why is it that the Republicans have elected more women governors and have two Hispanic governors and the Democrats don’t?," asked Todd. "Don’t have as many women governors and don’t have Hispanic governors, why do you think that is?"
Tampa New Mexico governor Susana Martinez once worked a guard for her parents’ security business and, as she told the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, her father wanted to make sure she could protect herself.
“I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum,” Martinez said. “That gun weighed more than I did!”
A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds "that economic issues -- particularly unemployment and economic growth -- are more important to Hispanic voters nationwide than immigration." That finding is true for Hispanic voters "Born outside the U.S.," "Parent born outside the U.S.," and "Self and parents born in U.S."
The Republican National Committee has released this web ad, which hits President Obama--because, under his leadership, "Hispanics are left suffering disproportionately under his economic policies," according to an RNC press release.
Looking at the electoral map this cycle, the focus has mostly been on Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. But what about the Mountain West? The assumption is that Obama has a virtual lock on Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, but is this valid?