Romney Needs To Pick Hispanic Running-Mate, Advise Republican Strategists

Mitt Romney has a big Latino voter problem and should choose a Hispanic to be his vice presidential running-mate, according to some GOP strategists.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is loved by the Tea Party, is on every strategist’s list; New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) have also been mentioned as possible choices for Romney. 

Non-Hispanics on the vice presidential list include Tea Party favorites like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and regionally popular governors like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), but strategists suggest choosing a Hispanic would be the best route.

A recent national poll from Fox News had President Obama leading Romney among Hispanic voters by 70 percent to 14 percent, a number that if it holds all but guarantees Obama’s reelection. Bush received approximately 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, while McCain received 31 percent despite his long-time support of immigration reform, which many strategists say cost him many western states.

“If Romney could use an etch-a-sketch anywhere, it’s with Hispanics,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “When they start vetting [possible running mates] they have to start with the Hispanics and go from there. He’s really hurt himself with Hispanics in this primary.”

Time and again, strategists circled back to Romney’s Hispanic problem — and said that while the decision is his, they hope he will find a Latino running mate.

“It’s not just about 2012, it’s about the future of the Republican Party,” O’Connell said. “If you don’t make inroads with Hispanics now I think the Republican Party could be wiped off the map for 20 years.”

Read more from Cameron Joseph at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2012-04-01 18:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy