Friday, July 12, 2024

Republican Presidential Hopefuls to Skip Hispanic Forum

A gathering of the big names in national conservative politics early next year was to provide a forum for 2012 hopefuls to address the largest minority group in the country–Hispanics.  However, fresh off of leading the way for the defeat of immigration reform in Congress, most Republicans are declining the opportunity.

The Hispanic Leadership Network was created as an offshoot of the American Action Network, a conservative organization that became one of the biggest-spending third party groups in this last election.  In addition to not disclosing its donors, the group ran into controversy this fall, when some of their attack ads were rejected by local television stations because they could not substantiate their claims.

Organized by those with ties to the Bush administrations, the group hoped to plan a forum that would look at ways that Republicans could reach Latino voters including providing a forum for 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls to speak directly to Hispanics, but it may actually signal the exact opposite from the GOP.

Only one potential presidential candidate has confirmed his attendance so far, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Declining to participate were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Texas Gov Rick Perry.

Newt Gingrich, who recently held his own Hispanic conservative event, the “First Annual Americano Forum” in Washington, said he is “amenable” to attending, but stopped short of confirming his attendance, a spokesman said.

Other potential presidential hopefuls including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour did not respond to inquiries from the media regarding their attendance.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will open the event.

Democrats are already saying they will engage the Hispanic community in full force, beginning with President Barack Obama telling Congressional Hispanic Caucus members this week that he will renew his push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2011.

None of the potential candidates have officially declared their intentions to run, but the forum appears to be almost heaven-sent for Republicans hopefuls, being that it is a safe and strategic opportunity to engage Hispanics in a state where a majority of Latinos backed the GOP nominees for governor and senator in 2010.

Despite the gains of Republican Hispanics in the mid-term election, analysis shows (Latino Decisions) that Latino voters penalized the GOP in a large part for their anti-immigrant stance by strongly backing Democratic candidates.  Their larger-than-average turnout, secured a victory in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s tight battled for re-election.

Just this past week, Republican opposition to the DREAM Act, meant that the chances of Congress passing any immigration reform measure becomes almost non-existent until after the 2012 elections signaling an uphill battle any Republican contender seeking the support of Latino voters will have.


National Journal


  1. Andrea Delgado says

    If I was a Latino Republican I would be furious to learn that anyone with Presidential aspirations would refuse to do something as simple as ADDRESS a politically significant segment of the U.S. electorate. This is disrespectful and shows ignorance and/or disregard of the demographic shift our country is going through and wanton apathy for engaging Hispanics.