Tuesday, January 31, 2012 are the Florida Republican primaries and all the candidates want the Hispanic vote. Florida has approximately 1.5 million Hispanic voters, representing 13.1% of all registered voters in the state.
That is a large bloc of voters.
Within the last three days we have seen two separate instances where Hispanic leaders have written an open letter to a Republican candidate.
The first was to Newt Gingrich, asking that he take down a campaign ad in which he calls Mitt Romney anti-immigrant.
Gingrich had the ad taken down.
Text of letter to Gingrich below:
Dear Speaker Gingrich,
Recently, you began airing a Spanish-language radio advertisement in Miami where you attack Governor Romney for being “anti-immigrant.”
This advertisement is untrue, offensive and unbecoming a candidate for the Republican nomination for President.
We are writing to you today to pull down this offensive radio ad.
Immigration is an important issue not just for Hispanic Republicans, but for our country.
President Obama and his liberal allies have worked hard to caricature all Republicans as being “anti-immigrant.” Your radio ad borrows from those talking points, hurts the progress that Republicans have made with Hispanics, and undermines our party’s efforts to win Hispanics over on economic and limited government arguments.
For a Republican candidate for President to reinforce President Obama’s attacks on Republicans is counterproductive, and damaging to the national dialogue on immigration issues. It will also help President Obama get reelected.
Governor Romney has worked aggressively to campaign among all Americans, including Hispanics. His message of economic opportunity and limited government are the same principles that have been espoused by conservatives and rallied Hispanics to our party since Ronald Reagan. Governor Romney understands that America should remain a land of opportunity for anyone willing to come here, work hard, and play by the rules.
While we may have differences of opinion with regard to some of Governor Romney’s policies on immigration, we nonetheless stand firmly behind him because we know he is the most qualified conservative candidate to defeat President Obama and to lift up all Americans, including Hispanics.
Like your attacks on the free market, attacking Mitt Romney as “anti-immigrant” only serves President Obama and his liberal allies.
Mr. Speaker, our party deserves better.
Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
Senator Mel Martinez
Raquel A. Rodriguez
R. Alexander Acosta
Remedios Diaz Oliver
Bertica Cabrera Morris
This morning, via email, I see Hispanic leaders have written another letter, this one to Mitt Romney. This letter is not a request to remove ads it is an open letter informing Romney why they cannot support him and listing the reasons they are supporting Newt Gingrich.
(Difference in font because text is copied and pasted directly from email)
Text of letter to Romney below:
Dear Governor Romney:
We are a group of Latino Republicans invested in the growth of the economy and the support of Hispanic communities. Some of us have supported Newt Gingrich from the beginning of his campaign, and others of us have supported you. Our purpose here is to advise you that those of us who have stood by you are now withdrawing our backing in favor of Newt Gingrich. We’ve come to our decision based on our belief that your support of the Hispanic community is not a clear representation of what we need.
For example, in Iowa you stated that you would immediately veto the Dream Act. Mr. Gingrich proposes to push an essential part of the Dream Act which offers citizenship to those young men and women who serve in military. Last Tuesday in Florida, you openly agreed with Newt on a partial acceptance of the Dream Act, reversing your original stance on the matter.
It appears you find it “dishonest” to consider yourself Mexican-American, even though your father was born in Mexico. Under that same pretense, would those of us born in the United States, but have parental ancestry from Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, and other Latin American countries, be dishonest in claiming ourselves as Americans?
It is clear to us that you have not provided a real solution on behalf of the 12+ million immigrants who live in the shadows of the American communities. You fail to dignify the economic refugees who reside, work, pay taxes, and are otherwise productive citizens in this country. In stark contrast, Mr. Gingrich has a true history of supporting our community. He says we he means, and means what he says.
- As Speaker, he pushed through the Cuban LIBERTAD Act, which codified the embargo on Cuba, authorized aid to dissidents, and set the framework for principled engagement to support a genuine transition to democracy
- Newt Gingrich pushed humane immigration laws, including the NACARA act (authored by former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart) to ensure that we kept our pledge to those who fled the Sandinistas in the 1970’s.
- Newt Gingrich is the only candidate that has offered a humane approach to our immigration problem. He understands how inhumane and unrealistic it is to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. He proposes to secure the border, deport criminals, and recognize the remainder through temporary work permits, and through establishing legal status for those with American sponsorship and deep ties to their communities.
- Newt Gingrich proposes to push an essential part of the Dream Act which offers citizenship to those young men and women who serve in the military.
- Newt Gingrich supports a referendum for the people of Puerto Rico to decide between independence, statehood and continued commonwealth status. Newt Gingrich has for years shown active support by reaching out to us, our organizations and our community to better understand the real concerns of American Hispanics. His interest in us did not begin last Tuesday in a Florida debate.
Mr. Gingrich has showed active support for the Hispanic community by reaching out to us, our organizations, and our communities to better understand the real concerns of American Hispanics. This is a quality that we respect, value, and appreciate.
Mr. Romney, without an open dialogue with us you are unable to understand issues important to the Latino community. Due to this absence, we are unable to support you.
Rosario Marin - Former US Treasurer, California
Mario Rodriguez - Hispanic 100 Chair, California
Massey Villarreal - Former National Chair of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Texas
Vinicio Madrigal, MD - Former Chair Louisiana Republican Hispanic Assembly, Louisiana
Theresa Speake - Former National Secretary of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Virginia
Al Zapanta - President & CEO. U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Texas
Lionel Sosa – President of Bromley Communications, Texas
Miguel Orozco – Immigration lawyer, California; Outstanding Americans by Choice Recipient; Actor & Producer
Elizabeth Orozco – Business Executive
Eduardo Verástegui – Pro-life activist, actor, singer. California
Joe Galvan - Former regional director HUD, Former chair RNHA. Illinois
Teresa Hernandez – Restaurateur
Saul Delgado – President of Caboraca
Fortino Rivera – CEO
Bertha Rivera – Business Executive
Nancy C. Acevedo – Chair National Republican Hispanic Alliance Florida
Robbie G. Munoz – Hispanic 100 Youth Chair, California
Julio Gudino – President, Gudino Financial & Insurance Services, Inc.
KV Kumar – Nat’l Vice Chairman, Asian American & Pacific Islanders Nat’l Republican Assembly