It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No! It’s a Latino Republican! Few and far between as they might be, Latino Republicans are out there promoting and voting in elections near you. Even though the Latino population is growing out of being labeled the minority in this country, they still remain an exceptional minority on the GOP ticket. With almost a month left to voting day, a slew of memorable Romney quotes behind us (and a few more to come) we decided to highlight a few Latino Republicans who look really good in red. In trying to find the needle in the haystack, you may come across a Republicano or two in your state.
Speaking at the Republican National Convention this past August, the Cuban-American Senator from Florida not only introduced Romney but re-introduced himself to the national public. Coming from a largely Latino-populated state, Rubio, 41, puts a fresh face to the immigrant story that’s all too relatable for voters. The father of four became Senator in 2010 and soon after gained more recognition for his brazen strategy as a Tea Party favorite. It was rumored that as a bright newcomer Rubio was considered as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Though he’s out as VP contender, he’s still in the game and making an impact in the political arena as a Latino conservative star.
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Governor of Puerto Rico since 2008 and advocator for the island’s statehood, Fortuño’s fiscal reform has been his greatest accomplishment. Dually, he is the president of the New Progressive Party and is a major asset in the advancement and development of Puerto Rico. Fortuño, 51, was labeled by Romney as “a solid conservative and a firm leader,” and nominated by President Obama to the Council of Governors, a commission tackling defense and national security. Fortuño took on an increasing budget deficit without increasing taxes and has adamantly promised to fight for the funds required to place Puerto Rico into statehood, should the island’s people vote for it. He’s become the eyes and hears for his homeland, all while maintaining good relations with the states and their GOP voters.
Elected in 2012 as the first U.S. Latina governor of New Mexico, as well as the state’s first female governor, it seems destiny for Martinez, 53, to be number one. Her position is not only seen as precedent by Latinos and women, but can also resonate with the public as a former Democrat who converted in 1996. She is loved by the state she governs, and recent polls show her at a more than 50 percent approval rating. As a Mexican-American, her family has a blue-collar background, which she prides in her policy-making and repertoire with her state’s residents. Despite disagreeing with Romney on immigration issues and dismissing any logic to his recent “47%” quip, she has supported the GOP saying, “We each shared in the promise of America, and we share a core belief that the promise of America must be kept for the next generation.
Becoming Nevada’s first Hispanic federal judge in 2010 was the beginning of Sandoval’s uprising career. Sandoval, of Mexican ancestry, has a lot on his plate with Nevada having the highest unemployment rate in the country and an increasing foreclosure market. His past GOP dedicated positions include state legislator, general and federal judge, many of which he was the first Latino to hold. Running the Latino vote in a swing state is no easy feat but Sandoval sees potential in the mass public, some similar to his own reflection. He has said, “I’m reaching out to the Hispanic community and letting them know that if they work hard, there is great opportunity in this country. I hope that I can inspire Hispanics to know that anything is possible.”
Rafael “Ted” Cruz
Many have high hopes for this Texas Senate candidate with a demeanor as smooth as his stage presence. The 41-year-old Cuban, and Ronald Reagan fan, has his eyes on the prize for the November elections. It’s been interesting to see a Latino politician trade in their buffed penny loafers for track shoes as the sprint to the finish line gets closer. The former Princeton University and editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review is often compared to another Republicano that made our list, Marco Rubio. Both Cuban-Americans gained political notoriety and another step on their platform during a Senate bid with major Tea Party support. And Cruz is hoping for a similar Rubio-like outcome.
So “Latino Republican” is not as much of an oxymoron as we may have thought. Our Republican All-Star list may not change your vote, but it will change your mind on the Latino political scene. With a few Latino GOP members looking towards an even greater future in politics and an even brighter spotlight upon them, their names are ones to look out for.
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