New chief for GOP’s Latino outreach effort

The Republican National Committee today announced its latest effort to reach out to Latino voters will be headed by a political consultant who not long ago was speaking for a major California candidate.

Bettina Inclan, who served as press secretary to 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Poizner and later that year spoke for Florida gubernatornial nominee Rick Scott’s successful campaign, is the RNC’s new director of Hispanic Outreach.

Bettina InclanOn a conference call with reporters, Inclan said the effort will focus on working with local leaders to spread the GOP message and stage get-out-the-vote efforts targeting Latino voters in the potential battleground states of Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada. California, where a heavy Democratic edge means the state isn’t so much in play, apparently didn’t make the cut.

They’re also launching a @RNCLatinos Twitter account and a Tumblr site to go with the RNCLatinos.com site they rolled out in October.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the Latino unemployment rate is about two points higher than the national average, and President Obama’s job approval ratings among Latinos have sunk more than any other demographic in his first term. Latinos are “tired of the broken promises and empty rhetoric of this president,” he said, and will be receptive to the GOP’s job-creation economic agenda.

“He’s losing in this Hispanic community and that’s because individual and economic freedom, good jobs and the American dream, rank number one across America and especially in the Hispanic community,” Priebus said.

Latino voters contributed heavily to the pummeling that California’s statewide GOP candidates took in 2010, and so the state GOP has stepped up efforts to court them by recruiting, endorsing, training and helping to fund Latino candidates.

There’s nowhere to go but up, according to a veteran GOP pollsters’ survey last March.

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.

Asked today bout Latino voters’ heavy support for the DREAM Act, which the GOP has opposed, Inclan replied, “Immigration is important – we need to address it, we need to talk about it” but the economy will be main thrust of the RNC’s Latino outreach.

UPDATE @ 12:40 P.M.: I see my esteemed colleage Carla Marinucci at the Chronicle had the scoop last month on another major development in Inclan’s life.

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.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    The GOP is banking on the premise Latino voters share the concerns of other citizens. Now there’s a new approach! The Dem Left harps on immigration, Anglo racism and the perennial fun topic of bilingualism. When conservatives look at a Hispanic, they see an American. When so-called liberals look at a Hispanic, they see a minority-group voter.