Tags: GOP2016 | Jeb Bush | jeb bush | gop | hispanics | voters | 2016

Jeb Bush Works to Bring Hispanic Voters to GOP

By    |   Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 09:46 AM

Image: Jeb Bush Works to Bring Hispanic Voters to GOP
Jeb Bush's declaration that the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally should have an opportunity to stay differentiates him from other GOP candidates, says one advocacy official, but liberals are accusing the former Florida governor of making the outreach for political reasons.

"The Bush family has always seen around the political corner," Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization, told The Wall Street Journal.

He said that Bush's early outreach, such as his appearance Wednesday before the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and his statements there on immigration, show how he's being inclusive while still keeping his conservative principles.

Bush's appearance was part of a larger effort to bring in the Latino voters who deserted the Republican Party in 2012 and led to the defeat of GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

Supporters say that Bush is uniquely qualified to attract Hispanic voters. On Wednesday, Bush delivered his remarks partly in Spanish, and said the nation's immigration system is broken and must be fixed, as "this country does not do well when people lurk in the shadows."

He also spoke of his wife, Columba, who was born in Mexico, recounted his conversion to Catholicism, and touted his record of improving Hispanic student performance in Florida while he was governor.

But such appearances also brought jeers from Democrats, and the liberal Emily's List accused Bush of putting on his "Hispanic hat" when he addressed this week's evangelical conference.

"It's going to take a lot more than speeches and empty rhetoric to convince Latino voters that he is on our side," Emily's List said in a press statement, the Journal reported.

Bush is also facing competition in 2016 from two candidates who are sons of Cuban immigrants: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

On Wednesday, Cruz told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington that his conservative policies would attract Hispanic voters, and that when he ran for the Senate in 2012, he got strong Latino support, especially when it came to small business owners and their families.

Bush's older brother, former President George W. Bush, also got high levels of support from the Hispanic community, winning his second term with 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. In comparison, Romney got just 27 percent.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said that if Republicans don't embrace changes in the nation's immigration policy, they will miss out on a powerful voting bloc that shares many of the GOP's values.

Rodriguez called Bush a "blessing for our nation," who speaks the language of faith and family as well as Spanish.

The Hispanic vote won't play much of a role in early primary elections, reports The Journal. Just 2 percent of registered voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire are Hispanic. In states like Florida and Texas, however, there are significantly more.

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Jeb Bush's declaration that the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally should have an opportunity to stay differentiates him from other GOP candidates, says one advocacy official, but liberals are accusing the former Florida governor of making the outreach for political reasons.
jeb bush, gop, hispanics, voters, 2016
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2015-46-30
Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 09:46 AM
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