California Republicans spent a big chunk of their party convention last weekend discussing how to make inroads with Latinos, and a group devoted to nurturing candidates said this week it has made progress.
GROW Elect, an organization that seeks to identify and help promising Hispanic conservatives running for public office, touted its role in three local elections: Ray Marquez, who won a seat on the Chino Hills City Council; Art Vasquez, who became Asuza's new city treasurer; and Jack Guerrero, who won a city council seat in the city of Cudahy.
Vazquez and Marquez got $1,000 apiece in addition to general campaign coaching, while GROW Elect donated $5,000 to Guerrero's effort, GROW Elect consultant Luis Alvarado said. In a press release, GROW Elect president president Ruben Barrales said the organization is particularly proud of Guerrero's victory.
"Our team on the ground made the difference in Jack's tough election victory," Barrales said.
Los Angeles County Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman isn't buying it. He noted that the city council race was a nonpartisan contest in a city eager for fresh blood after city officials were implicated in bribery case. Every candidate on the city council ballot in overwhelmingly Hispanic Cudahy was Latino.
"Even a watch that isn't running is correct twice a day," Bauman said. "The voters in those cities are looking for change, they're looking for new candidates. It has nothing to do with the fact this guy was a Republican."
Bauman added that voters in small-scale local races decide based on "who's going to fix your potholes," not party preference.
"The reasons that Latinos in California don't support the Republican party today are the same as they were yesterday and will be the same tomorrow," Bauman said.
IMAGE CREDIT: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks to reporters after holding private talks with Latino and other community leaders at Tamayo restaurant in East Los Angeles; to his right is GROW Elect president Ruben Barrales. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 by Reed Saxon for AP Photo.