Friday, May 14, 2010

Rick reaching out to Hispanics...

There is a profile in the Austin paper about Rick's new press secretary who is Hispanic (link). Excerpt follows...

Though most Hispanic voters are not likely to side with the Republican governor in his re-election contest in November against Democrat Bill White, that isn't stopping Perry from working to get their vote. Last week, he was in Mission to accept the endorsements of about 30 Rio Grande Valley elected officials. This week, he spoke at the Generation Adelante/GeneraciĆ³n Forward college fairs in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. And he's registered his discontent with the recently passed Arizona law — hugely unpopular with Hispanics — that cracks down on undocumented immigrants.

But for a conservative politician such as Perry, it's a delicate balance.

"He's trying to walk that tightrope between the hard-core base of his party, which probably does support the Arizona model, with one eye toward not alienating the Latino vote," said Jerry Polinard, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.

'Listen to us'

Garcia is not only the Perry campaign's press secretary but also the man behind its Spanish-language website and its new, mostly Spanish-language Twitter feed and Facebook group.

The Facebook group, Tejanos por Rick Perry , features photos from Perry's recent trip to Mission and a video endorsement from Puerto Rico Gov. Luis FortuƱo.

Garcia, who came to the campaign from the Texas Secretary of State's Election Division, says he translates Perry's messages into Spanish rather than crafting a different message tailored for Hispanic voters.

"We're trying to reach a larger audience with the same message," Garcia said. "We don't want to change the message so we can humor Hispanics."


Garcia said he's not limiting his outreach to Spanish because he envisions connecting with "people who are bilingual or who want to brush up on their English."

Nearly two-thirds of Hispanic voters in Texas consider themselves Democrats, Polinard said. That still leaves plenty more who don't. In the 2006 gubernatorial race, about 750,000 Latino voters showed up at the polls, said Lydia Camarillo, vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.

"Hispanics tend to have very conservative values (and) have a lot more in common with Republicans than Democrats," Garcia said. "We're going, 'Hey, we're out here. Listen to us. You may not know you're a Republican by heart."

Bill White's Hispanic outreach is strong, but for Rick to announce 30 South Texas Hispanic Democrat mayors and other elected officials supporting him is a huge deal and shows that Bill White will have to do more than wear a stupid hat to lock down the Hispanic vote...

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.