GOP consultants form Latino-focused polling firm

Here’s another sign that California Republicans are stepping up their efforts to attract Latino voters: Two well-known consultants are teaming up to create a Latino-focused polling firm.

Latino Edge Research’s principals are billing their new venture as “the only all Latino Republican survey research firm,” which “provides the insight and understanding of Latino voters so that messaging will reach them, persuade them and activate them.”

John Nienstedt, whose Competitive Edge Research & Communication is based in San Diego, will be Latino Edge’s research director while Hector Barajas – who has held top communications jobs for the California Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, 2010 gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman and the state Senate Republican Caucus – will be in charge of message development. Barajas most recently has worked at Revolvis, and Latino Edge reportedly will be run out of CERC’s and Revolvis’ existing offices.

“Latino Edge focuses exclusively on Latino and Hispanic voters, diving deep into this diverse community to understand the values, language and priorities necessary to develop winning center-right messages,” the new firm’s news release said.

This news comes just a few months after GROW Elect – a group founded in 2011 to recruit, endorse, train and fund Latino Republican candidates in California – announced it had hired former Bush White House aide and former San Mateo County Supervisor Ruben Barrales as its first president and CEO. Barrales reportedly has thrown himself into the job, including doing some face-time and fundraising with Republicans across the state; case in point, he’ll be joining state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte this Friday, May 10, at the San Mateo County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, and next Thursday at the Alameda County Republican Party’s leadership dinner.

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.