Will Immigration Reform Mean More Hispanic Republicans?

Feb 6, 2013 11:31am
gty susana martinez dm 110914 wblog Will Immigration Reform Mean More Hispanic Republicans?

Steven St. John/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

If immigration reforms pass Congress, will it mean more Hispanics running for office as Republicans in the coming years?

That question was raised, in varying forms, on a conference call Wednesday with Republicans Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada–two of the GOP’s most prominent Hispanic elected officials. They spoke with reporters to announce a new group aiming to recruit more minority candidates to run for state legislative offices, the Future Majority Caucus, an effort launched Wednesday by the Republican State Legislative Committee.

The two governors disagreed: Sandoval thinks so; Martinez demurred.

“I believe that the immigration debate is going to be a strong way to attract more Hispanic candidates,” Sandoval told reporters on the conference call.

“My observations have been, during this past cycle, particularly in Nevada, is that we have a lot of minority candidates, a lot of minority individuals who got involved in the campaign” as staffers or volunteers, Sandoval said. “I think they’re going to want to be a part of this immigration debate, I think it’s healthy and about time.”

Martinez, on the other hand, sounded a familiar warning: That Hispanics are not one-issue voters, and that attracting them to the GOP is about more than immigration policy.

“I really want to emphasize that when we have candidates that are discussing the immigration issue, certainly we have to always have that conversation in a sincere manner. I think Hispanics, like any other voter, can see through an insincere candidate who is just spouting the rhetoric or whose tone is not being respectful,” Martinez said.

“The gateway to recruiting good candidates and earning the support of Hispanics and African Americans and Asians and women is to have very sincere conversations, even if at the end of the day we may partially disagree on the solution,” Martinez added.

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