Saturday, June 28, 2008

Candidates Start Courting Latinos

The great silence on immigration reform that had descended on the primaries is about to be lifted. Both John McCain and Barack Obama will appear today before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Washington and next week before the National Council of La Raza. Both candidates were assumed to be the most immigrant friendly in each's party primaries, though both had taken to talking more about border security and enforcement than a path to citizenship. Their positions should become clearer as they pursue the almost 10 million Latino votes. These tend to favor the Democrats, though the GOP had made inroads into that majority in the 2004 election. But that progress had halted abruptly with the passage of the Sensenbrenner Bill by a Republican congress. They paid dearly in the 2006 congressional election. Subsequent campaigns to rouse Latinos out of their political lethargy through aggressive voter registration does not bode well for the GOP. Obama has his own problems since most Latino votes in the Democratic primaries favored Hillary Clinton substantially. The Latino vote looms large in Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. (See Arizona Republic article.)

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