Republican Gov. Chris Christie clinched re-election in New Jersey yesterday with 60 percent of the vote. According to exit polls by NBC, 51 percent of Hispanic residents voted for Christie.
The Hispanic vote has been elusive for the Republican party in recent nationwide elections – most notably during this past presidential election. The GOP, and politically radical Tea Partiers have alienated Hispanic voters in the past when it came to their views on immigration reform (among other domestic issues).
Will Christie’s re-election act as a road map to boosting Latino support for the Republican Party?
“Christie didn’t take an antagonistic approach – he wasn’t about ‘here’s the groups I don’t like, I don’t like immigrants, or gay marriage’ and he literally embraced diversity, when he talked about all the different people he had hugged in the campaign. That was meant to speak to the potential non-white Republican voter,” Latino Decisions political scientist Sylvia Manzano told NBC.
After Christie’s victory Monday night, Bob Quasius, founder and president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans said Christie’s engagement with the Latin community is “a model for other candidates to follow.”
Christie, markedly less ideological than most of his GOP counterparts, may be setting the bar for embracing diversity in future Republican campaigns.