State GOP continues to court Latinos

The California Republican Party, troubled by its failure to attract Latino voters, today touted a day-long media training workshop it held last week with Latino elected officials and candidates.

The state GOP says the event at Univision’s Los Angeles facility was “an important step” in its relationship with GROW Elect, a political action commitee created to recruit, endorse, train, and help fund California Latino Republicans and independents for elected office. There were question-and-answer sessions with CRP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette and former State Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta; GROW Elect consultants Luis Alvarado and Moises Merino were also on hand for the training.

“This is part of keeping our promise to establish a stronger, more consistent Republican presence in the Latino community and to continue our support of GROW Elect and their impressive efforts,” Del Beccaro said in today’s news release. “We’re excited to partner with GROW Elect, not just with training but with other resources that will help promote their bottom-up approach to connect with Latino voters throughout California.”

The CRP and GROW Elect plan to offer more such workshops for Latino Republicans across the state, with two more sessions planned for Sacramento and Fresno before the year’s end.

The Pew Research Center found that Democratic candidates won the Latino vote, usually by wide margins, in last November’s elections across the nation. In California’s U.S. Senate race, Democrat Barbara Boxer won 66 percent of the Latino vote while Republican Carly Fiorina won 31 percent; for governor, Democrat Jerry Brown won 63 percent of the Latino vote while Republican Meg Whitman won 34 percent.

Veteran Republican pollster Bob Moore in March had said his latest survey showed there was an opportunity for the state GOP to gain ground with Latino voters despite its negative image – a nice way of saying the party had nowhere to go but upward.

The survey of 400 California Latino voters had found only 26 percent had a favorable impression of the GOP, while 47 percent felt unfavorably about it and 27 percent had no opinion. It also found the party wouldn’t win over many Latino voters by stressing conservatism; only 22 percent agreed Republicans should, “stick to core values and nominate true Conservatives.” Philosophically, only a third were self-described conservatives, with a third calling themselves moderate and a quarter calling themselves liberal.

Immigration policy remained a sore point, with only 25 percent approving and 71 percent disapproving of Arizona’s controversial law. But the poll found more than seven in 10 voters would consider a candidate who says, “secure the border first, stop illegal immigration, then find a way to address the status of people already here illegally.” And 69 percent of Latino voters said they’d consider voting for a Republican who talked about “ensuring all children had a chance at a first-rate education” even if they disagreed with that candidate on immigration policy.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.