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Latino voters will be a force in midterm elections, report argues

By Krissah Thompson
How potent will the immigration issue be for Latino voters in 2010?

Advocacy groups representing the community predict it will remain a "litmus test" in key mid-term races.

In a report out Monday, the immigration reform advocacy group America's Voice outlined 40 mid-term races where Hispanic voters could have a significant impact on the outcome.

"Most politicians understand the importance of the Latino vote in presidential years, but what we're saying is that Latino voters will have a huge impact in the mid-term elections," Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, said on a conference call with reporters Monday. "The number of voters coming of age and registering continues to grow. You have seen growth even when a presidential race isn't at the top of the ticket."

Nearly one in five Congressional Districts has a Latino population that is at least a quarter of the district.

The nation's fastest growing population is also one of the fastest growing parts of the American electorate, according to Census figures. Between 2000 and 2008, Latino voter registration grew 54 percent and turnout grew 64 percent. In the 2004 presidential race, 7.5 million Hispanics voted. In the 2006 midterm election, 8 million voted. And in the 2008 presidential race, 10 million cast ballots.

In its analysis, America's Voice argued that "immigration reform -- and the way the two parties' handled the congressional debates in 2006 and 2007 and in their campaigns -- was a key factor in influencing these voters' choices for political office in 2008." The majority of Latino voters supported Obama.

Sharry said polling of Latino voters shows that the Republican Party's image has been damaged by GOP lawmakers' approach to the immigration issue over the last few years, and that the vast majority of Latinos will not vote for a candidate who advocates mass deportation. But Democrats could also run the risk of alienating Latinos if immigration reform does not advance, he said.

"The president did make a promise to the Latino community and its not going to be forgotten," said National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia of Obama's pledge to push immigration reform. "That's an important promise that we're going to hold him accountable for. But at the same time, Republicans can't just continue to say 'no' either. Our community will hold all these elected officials accountable."

Murguia said lack of movement on immigration reform could depress turnout among Hispanics in 2010, though polls show that immigration is not the top issue for Latino voters. Like most other voting blocs, Latinos are most concerned about the economy and jobs -- but Murguia said a candidate's stance on immigration reform has become an issue of baseline respect for many Latino voters.

The report by America's Voice was written, in part, to spur action from both parties on immigration reform, Sharry said.

"Certainly we were disappointed by the scant reference to immigration reform in the president's State of the Union speech, but we're still alive and the final chapter hasn't been written on immigration reform," he said. "I don't think we're prepared to write it off. We see daily activity on the inside of the White House that they have not given up themselves."

Immigration reform advocates posed a series of questions on the conference call whose answers, they said, could influence the outcome of the midterms. Will the Democrats advance comprehensive immigration reform this year as promised -- or push the issue off for the future? If they wait, will delay dampen enthusiasm for Democrats among the Latino electorate, and impact key races? Does the Republican Party embrace a more inclusive stance on immigration reform in order to compete for these voters, as some in the party have advised? Or does the GOP continue to embrace an agenda that opposes comprehensive immigration reform, ignoring the demographic and political realities of a growing electorate?

"I think people are going to be in a situation where they're saying we want change. If we didn't get it in 2008, we need to make sure we get legislators elected who'll bring change," said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 8, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
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Politics, should we forget largely is about numbers.

Never mind, at times the 'cliche' the greater good for the greater number seem meaningless.

Posted by: Victoria5 | February 9, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

The United States has been more than generous to the millions of immigrants from Latin America. There was a big amnesty in 1986, chain immigration of millions of family members and millions of instant US citizen babies born to an unknown number of illegal immigrants. This is apparently is not enough for pro illegal immigrant ethno centric groups such as America’s Voice and La Raza. I sure hope that America’s Latino voters vote for what is good for our country and not the special interest of foreign nationals that have broken the law. No rewards should be given to people that have not “played by the rules.”

Posted by: BrianSDCA | February 8, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many illegal aliens will voting in the mid-term elections. I anticipate they will in the SANCTUARY STATE OF CALIFORNIA. Then the state wonders why they are deep in debt? Perhaps the inception of the "TEA PARTY" movement has an agenda to stop this absolute travesty of our immigration enforcement?

Hopefully their growing populace are not compromised by either the Republicans and Democrats in there haste to be recognized as a force against corrupt government. NO MORE AMNESTIES, MAKE E-VERIFY PERMANENT , FULLY FUND 287 (G) FOR LOCAL POLICE AND RESUME EXPANDED ICE RAIDS. Learn more at NUMBERSUSA dot com, JudicialWatch dot org and Americanpatrol dot com Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asked for your Senator or Congressman. In addition bombard your State Representatives to enforce state laws.

Posted by: infinity555 | February 8, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

FedUpInMoCo: you are assuming that all white people will vote republican. So the afro/asian/latino americans, along with
a large number of cauco-americans, are going to be beat by the mostly white GOP?
Really? You sound like Perry Bacon on wapo saying he'd be surprised if blacks voted in the mid-terms. What, like they haven't noticed how how the Prez has been treated by GOPers? right.....

Posted by: katem1 | February 8, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

WaPo reported:

In a report out Monday, the immigration reform advocacy group America's Voice outlined 40 mid-term races where Hispanic voters could have a significant impact on the outcome.


And the DJIA drops ANOTHER 100 points.

You know, the stock markets can take only so much genuinely terrible news.

Posted by: thardman | February 8, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

When Illegals are allowed to vote I'll enounce my United States Citizenship. It looks like it may be soon. American Citizens are not appreciated.

Posted by: sandynh | February 8, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This is very bad news for the GOP if it holds up. Tea Partiers are not exactly the friendliest of folks to Latinos. Tom Tancredo, etc...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 8, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

When Hilary muffed the drivers licenses for illegal immigrants question in the Democratic primary debates, her standing plummeted. That was among Democratic primary voters, not even the general population.

There is no broad group of voters except Latinos and employers of low-wage workers who really want "reform." After Hilary got the question on immigration, there was never another question that couldn't be answered by "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" -- a change that can't be understood and is never defined.

No American politician wants to run a national campaign in favor of amnesty by any other name. If they did, Rahm Emmanuel would tell them they were a bunch of F***ing r*****ds.

Posted by: kevin9 | February 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Smells of desperation.The facts simply don't confirm this Latino political power. Forty million Hispanics minus 10 million illegals and another 5-10 million who are legal but aren't citizens. Worst case scenario for Latinos is 20 million are eligible to vote. And this includes kids. The fact of the matter is that blacks turnout it greater proportion and more of them are eligible to vote than Latinos

I wish the media would analyze this and stop with the Pro-Latino drivel.

Posted by: cleancut77 | February 8, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The message is clear: Politicians who favor mass deportation, attrition or a "do nothing" policy on immigration reform will be punished at the polls in November and in 2012.

Posted by: mehuwss | February 8, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Latinos who are here illegally cannot vote and we should make sure that process is not violated...
Latinos who are here legally have been hit hard and illegals are going against them for jobs...
latinos want a fair system for immigration...
dems want voters...
dems will give something and then take away everything...
that is the nature of the dems...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 8, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Murtha's family should hire a private investigator to probe whether operatives affiliated with ideologically-oriented entities may have infiltrated the health care system with the express purpose of compromising the congressman's care.

Here's why:

OR (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Dems will face two types of GOP candidates this fall: One who kowtows to the teabaggers and hardliners by adopting a pro-deportation policy who is therefore unelectable by the general public; Or one who stakes out a position in favor of rational reform (combining strict enforcement with legal immigration and getting immigrants here illegally into the system and on-the-books), who is severely wounded by the teabaggers in a primary.

Either way, Dems are crazy to not step up on this issue and say "follow me." Grow a pair and lead...the water is quite safe.

Posted by: AndiMedi | February 8, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Are we seeing the Balkinization of the United States. Maybe. Are we seeing that as he often was right that the late Samuel Huntington was right? Maybe. Are we seeing a world where Latinos for one block and African-Americans form one block, and so forth? Maybe. If the future will we see a world where whites form one block? Maybe. Is this nation in trouble? Yes.

Posted by: jeffreed | February 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Non-latino voters will also be a "force" in upcoming elections -- voters who see right through the immigration "reform" charade, voters who've had enough of mass immigration policies that send latinos to the front of the line because of their arrogant demands.

Pander to these ethnic blocs at your peril, Democrats.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 8, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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