The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

November 8, 2012

Republicans losing stronghold states as Hispanics shun GOP

(Continued)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whom Romney considered as a running mate, is one politician the Republican Party has tried to showcase as it works to appeal to Hispanics.

The Cuban-American introduced Romney at the party’s nominating convention in August. Rubio, 41, is often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. The senator’s spokesman said he wasn’t available for interviews.

Obama’s announcement in June that the United States would no longer deport undocumented residents brought to the country as children also helped the incumbent with Hispanics.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register before the election, Obama predicted that Hispanic voters would help put him over the top in the election, and that their support would help win passage of immigration overhaul legislation next year.

“A big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community,” Obama said.

In Nevada, the most heavily Hispanic presidential swing state at 27 percent, Obama’s 100,000-vote victory in Clark County, which is 29 percent Hispanic, made up for losses to Romney elsewhere in the state.

Obama won 56 percent of the vote in Colorado’s Adams County, where the Hispanic population in suburbs near Denver rose to 38 percent from 28 percent a decade ago. Pueblo County in southern Colorado is more than 41 percent Hispanic, and the president took 55 percent there.

Republican politicians “are in a hole” because they used affirmative action and immigration reform in a negative fashion, for instance talking of electrifying border fences, said Brent Wilkes, executive director of the Washington-based League of United Latin American Citizens, a civil rights and advocacy group. “You had people really going hard core,” he said.

“You can see why — it helps appeal to this base, the really conservative white voters who are unhappy or concerned about the growing Hispanic population, from a xenophobic angle,” he said. “That might help in the primary, but it’s killing the party in the general election.”

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