What Gov. Chris Christie’s win says about Latino voters

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Latino voters

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wins the gubernatorial race with support from Latino voters . (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

With Tuesday’s November 5th election came some very interesting revelations about Latino voters. While they predictably voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidates in the Virginia state races, especially between gubernatorial candidates Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, that was not the case in New Jersey.

Interestingly, Gov. Chris Christie received almost half of the Latino vote in New Jersey which is the bluest of the blue states and never before has a Republican candidate in that state received such high voting numbers from this population group.

But since Gov. Christie was elected governor four years ago, his popularity among those that traditionally vote Democratic such as Blacks, Latinos and union members, has increased. And herein is the interesting part of Tuesday’s election results and what that could mean for Republicans and Democrats capturing the Latino vote in the next two important elections in 2014 and 2016.

Terry McAuliffe, Latino voters

Virginia Democratic Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe address his supporters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

We hear from media pundits almost daily that the Republican Party is in such turmoil that capturing the support and votes of minority groups and independents is near impossible, never mind its narrow views on social issues, which they say contributes even more to this impossibility.

But wait, we just witnessed a remarkable outcome in New Jersey where Republican Gov. Chris Christie won handily with the help of minority and independent voters. This shows that not all Republican candidates are alike, thus it’s a disservice to paint them all with one brush.

While admittedly, the Republican Party may be going through its own metamorphosis, its not as if it’s the only party that has gone through such challenges – the Democratic Party has had it own share of troubles in years past and made a winning come back and so will the Republican Party.

It’s just that one political party seems to do more to capture the hearts and minds of minorities than the other. Yet, Chris Christie proved that all isn’t lost with minority voters which should worry Democrats that the days of taking the Latino vote for granted, for example, may be coming to an end.

How Gov. Chris Christie won the Latino vote

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Latino voters

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wins re-election with support of almost half of Latino voters. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

There was no magic to Gov. Christie’s accomplishment on Tuesday.  He won handily with minority voters especially Latinos because he paid attention to them in a respectful and meaningful way.

Latino voters are no different than any other voter in America… they want their freedom, they want to work and they love America. They don’t need to be treated differently from any other American voter and like any American voter, they want their concerns heard.

In his victory speech on Tuesday, Chris Christie mentioned that Republicans will have to go to places that are unfamiliar and that may make them uncomfortable to win over those non traditional Republican voters.

That has long been the problem of Republican candidates; they go to the neighborhoods familiar to them, speak to people that look like them and attend functions and events that attract only those that agree with them.

This election cycle changed some of that. In Virginia for example, Ken Cuccinelli did his best to reach out to Latino voters and it paid off for the Republican Party to be seen as going that extra mile to reach out to this growing population.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie did a superb job in listening to voters’ concerns, being inclusive and showing compassion that no doubt helped him win over non Republicans.

He also campaigned a day before the election with New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, which didn’t hurt his standing with Latino voters.  Incidentally, Gov. Martinez’s presence along side Gov. Christie didn’t go unnoticed by those that are looking to the 2016 presidential election – they would make one heck of a competitive team especially in winning over Latino voters.

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