The Republican National Committee (RNC) held a conference call on Tuesday to explain their efforts to get out the Hispanic vote in the 2012 elections. This is the first time that the RNC has organized any Hispanic outreach efforts on the state level. In 2008 they only had one Hispanic national director and did very little to reach out to Hispanic voters.
The DNC, in comparison, mobilized 150 hispanic community leaders in 2008 and the Obama campaign donated more than $20 million to help with Hispanic outreach efforts and Spanish language advertising. As a result, Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008.
The RNC is far behind, but they have started with targeting swing states and appointing Hispanic outreach directors in Colorado, North Carolina, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia and Nevada. These directors will be a small segment of the larger RNC “Victory” strategy in these states.
RNC National Hispanic Outreach Coordinator Bettina Inclan said that the Republican Party has realized that they haven’t been doing enough to engage Hispanics.
“We want to say we do care, we want to include you,” she said. They plan to reach out especially to college campuses and try to get Hispanics involved in social media by presenting a new narrative about Obama’s failed promises and how his economic plans have harmed Hispanics.
She also pointed out that the key issues for Hispanics will be jobs and the economy, much more than immigration. “Hispanics are American citizens, they come here for opportunity and for the American Dream, they don’t only care about immigration,” she said. “It’s almost offensive to say that.”
Inclan argued that Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history. She offered no comment on Mitt Romney’s immigration policies, saying that they were not willing to discuss them, given that he has only been the presumptive nominee for two weeks.
RNC spokeswoman Kristen Kukowski declined to answer any questions about numbers and expected percentages of voters and she asked everyone to keep in mind that this organization still has a lot of ground to cover and most of the outreach directors have only been in their positions for a week.
Whether the RNC will be able to equal or surpass the efforts of the DNC or not, it is clear that Mitt Romney will have to step up his bi-lingual advertising and his Hispanic image in order to gather their votes.