LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – After Mitt Romney's 20 minute speech to the nation's largest gathering of Latino lawmakers, supporters of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a Cafe con Leche reception down the hall at the Disney hotel. But less than an hour after Romney's speech,, there were only five people left in the room-- three of them where there to work the espresso machine.
The tepid response during the speech measured only slightly better than the lukewarm coffee reception with the stacks of Romney campaign bumper stickers left untouched. Light applause, and polite head-nods were the most common gestures during the former Massachusetts governor's remarks as opposed to the enthusiastic cheering Romney normally encounters at his campaign events.
The majority of those listening to Romney's speech Thursday were elected and appointed officials who already belong to political parties--mostly Democrats -- and who have long ago picked a side.
The Latino vote is a huge bloc of voters that we believe is critical, in terms of both the national numbers but also in particular states.
- Max Sevillia, the policy director for NALEO
"Let's face it, this is a crowd of folks already involved in politics. The battle lines were drawn in this crowd,” said Ana Navarro, an advisor to former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush and now a political consultant. "I think there were very few swing voters inside this crowd."
"He wasn't speaking to this crowd, he was speaking to the (Latino) community at large," she added.
"I am glad he was here. Romney came in front of a group of people who are skeptical of him to begin with, and he tried his best, I believe, to inform us of his agenda, " said Raymond Sanchez, former president of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the group organizing the convention at Disney this week.
The Latino vote overall is not one uniform bloc that will automatically side with one political party and much of their electoral strength lies in key swing states-- a huge appeal for both Romney and President Barack Obama, who addresses the convention on Friday.
"The Latino vote is a huge bloc of voters that we believe is critical, in terms of both the national numbers but also in particular states," said Max Sevillia, the policy director for NALEO, "Whether it be Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada. The Latino vote, that bloc is larger than what we have seen in years past.”
Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo