Republican strategists are looking to the governors of New Mexico and Nevada for pointers as they focus efforts on trying to capture the surging, but traditionally Democratic, Hispanic vote to help turn more states red and recapture the White House.
Both states are primarily Democratic, but they elected Hispanic GOP Governors three years ago — Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Brian Sandoval in Nevada.
According to Politico
, campaign observers attribute their success to being able to stay true to the core GOP messages of smaller government and lower taxes, without alienating Latinos and women on social issues.
Both also focus almost exclusively on home-state issues and building their own brands as distinct from that of the national Republican Party, Politico reported.
While Martinez and Sandoval drew only a third of Hispanic support during their 2010 campaigns, they have since made strides among Latino voters by taking positions in the national immigration debate which has helped them engage more with the community.
Both now hove approval ratings near or above the 60 percent mark, Politico reports.
"Both of them have managed to build their own brand and stay far away from the national GOP infighting and Washington dysfunction," GOP strategist Ana Navarro told Politico. "They've stuck near to home; they've worked really hard . . . They are very busy being governors."
Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto suggests Republicans can continue to make strides with Hispanic voters even if they don't agree on all policy issues. Outreach is the key to success, he said.
"You have to either be a Hispanic Republican or be a Republican who is completely comfortable with the Hispanic community and Hispanic issues, like George W. Bush," Barreto told Politico.
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