GOP convention speakers reflect new importance of Hispanic electorate
Published: August 29, 2012
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) -- With the Hispanic electorate expected to be a pivotal voting bloc in this year's presidential election, the list of speakers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa reflects that reality. At least five of the scheduled GOP speakers at the Aug. 27-30 convention in Tampa represent new faces of Republican leadership and are from Hispanic populations in the South or West. Among them, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, was scheduled to have a key role in introducing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney before Romney's nomination acceptance speech Aug. 30. Rubio has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. "Having Marco Rubio introduce Romney at the convention is a major advancement for Hispanics nationally and for Cuban-Americans specifically," said Sean Foreman, associate professor of political science at Barry University in Miami, a Catholic university located near Rubio's district in South Florida. The Republican Party is making a concerted effort to reach Hispanic voters and has succeeded in grooming new Hispanic leadership, including two other speakers at the convention: Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. Both governors from the West were rumored to be under consideration as Romney's vice-presidential pick. But Romney lags far behind President Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, among Latino voters, according to opinion polls. A weekly tracking poll for the blog Latino Decisions, taken just before the GOP convention, showed Obama was favored by 65 percent of Latino voters, compared to 26 percent who supported Romney. "Republicans point out that of many of the 2010 GOP political winners for senator (or) governor races were Hispanic -- showing Republicans may get a bad rap on the issue when actually their record is good on recruiting Hispanic leaders," Foreman said. "They have been fairly successful in the last couple of years in recruiting new Hispanic leaders."
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