National GOP Leaders Shake Up Romney Latino Outreach Staffing in New Mexico

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during campaign event  in Hobbs, New Mexico, in August.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during campaign event in Hobbs, New Mexico, in August.  (2012 AFP)

National GOP leaders are shaking up some of the staff in New Mexico working to elect Mitt Romney.

State Republican Party spokeswoman Jamie Dickerson confirms the GOP Victory campaign's Hispanic outreach director and the communications director are among those being moved as part of a shift in the Republican National Committee's resources.

Party officials emphasized, however, that all of the state campaign offices will remain open and staffed through the election.

"The GOP Victory organization will maintain a presence in New Mexico and continue talking to voters about how President Obama's economic policies have failed New Mexico and Governor Romney's plan to strengthen the middle class," said RNC spokesman Ted Kwong.

While New Mexico early in the campaign was considered a battleground state for national races, the National Republican Senatorial Committee recently pulled $3 million in television ad time it had reserved on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson.

And a recent poll commissioned for the Albuquerque Journal showed Obama leading Romney 45 percent to 40 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

The Romney campaign has acknowledged its goal is 38 percent of the Latino vote.

Political scientists such as Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said in a recent interview that Romney must win close to 40 percent of the national Latino vote, although there is a slight margin for error.

“If white turnout is up relative to other races, then Romney could get away with a slightly lower proportion,” Sabato says. “Romney is clearly ahead in Arizona and should win that. Obama will win New Mexico and probably Nevada. Romney ought to win Florida unless the Medicare issue peels off too many seniors, and Colorado is a total toss-up.”

Meanwhile, a new GOP-aligned group called the Libre Initiative plans to air Spanish-language ads in Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina.

Obama's campaign has more than doubled Romney's spending on Hispanic-focused television ads so far — approximately $6.4 million from Obama to Romney's $2.9 million.

This story is based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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