More good election news: Some GOPers gained strongly with Latino voters

Tuesday was a good day just about everywhere for conservatives and Republicans on the ballot. Exit polls from around the country suggest there was more good news for the GOP this week. From the New York Times:

“Hispanics voted nearly two to one for Democratic candidates on Tuesday just as they did in the 2010 midterm elections, a national exit poll shows. In a number of key races, however, they voted more heavily Republican, pointing to a strategy for Republicans in the presidential contest in 2016.”

According to those exit polls, new Texas governor Greg Abbott received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal received 47 percent, while Georgia’s new senator David Perdue won 44 percent. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback also garnered 47 percent of the Hispanic vote.

After the party’s struggles in 2012, those are positive figures that demonstrate that Republicans who reach out to Latino voters can do well and compete with Democrats for their votes.

The GOP is also benefiting from prominent rising stars in the party who are Hispanic, including Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. Martinez and Sandoval cruised to re-election Tuesday with strong support from Latino voters.

There’s no “formula” for these candidates’ strong success, but there are lessons for candidates and the party going forward.

  1. It starts with simple outreach. Party leaders, office holders and potential candidates need to be familiar faces and friendly ears in Hispanic communities year-round, not just at election time. People can easily spot when a candidate is just dropping by for votes.
  2. Find common ground. Many Republican themes already resonate with Hispanic voters – but the message has to start with respect. When there is disagreement, that too must be handled forthrightly and with respect. Gov. Martinez in New Mexico is a great example of a Republican leader with strong beliefs who has the credibility to make her pitch in a way that resonates in Hispanic communities. In Nevada, Gov. Sandoval managed to increase his Hispanic support from 15% in 2010 to 47% this year.
  3. Always keep the door open. Community leaders who know your door is always open to them will cross its threshold more often – and that’s just as important as outreach to building relationships.

The GOP’s outreach efforts are critically important if it is to have any chance of turning conservative principles into electoral success in the future. Thankfully, more of its leaders are getting that message.
-Rob McKenna

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Rob McKenna
Rob served two terms as Washington’s Attorney General, from 2005 to 2013. He successfully argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and negotiated three of the largest consumer financial protection settlements in national history, all involving mortgage lending and servicing. He is a recognized leader in the development of consumer protections on the internet, in data protection and privacy regulation.