Texas gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott is hoping to win over a large chunk of Latino voters by speaking to them directly – en Español.
Abbott, a Republican and the state attorney general, has set a goal of winning at least 40 percent of the Latino vote in Texas, according to the Texas Tribune. He is running against Democrat Wendy Davis, a state senator who has made headlines for reportedly exaggerating some of the hardship she endured as a single mother.
Abbott’s 40 percent goal isn't by any stretch far-fetched considering that Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, garnered 38 percent of the Latino vote in 2010.
“This website will provide another platform to communicate my message of creating jobs, improving our education system and making our communities safer," Abbott said in a written statement, according to the newspaper. “Together we will live up to the ideal that any child of any background has a chance to smile, to hope, to dream and to achieve — not because of their ZIP code, their heritage or their family history, but because we live in a Texas that includes all.”
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones estimates that Texas voters who prefer their political news in Spanish comprise about one-third of the Latino electorate.
“That’s reflective of the lack of attention that most politicians, at least in Texas, pay to Hispanic voters that would prefer to interact, as well as consume, political information in Spanish,” Jones said.
Both Abbott and Davis have undertaken other ways of courting Latinos in Spanish, the newspaper said.
They have appeared in Spanish-language media, but since neither speaks Spanish, subtitles have been used. Neither candidate has released Spanish-language campaign videos, the Tribune said.
Last July, Perry, who is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, announced that he would not seek re-election this year.
Perry succeeded former President George W. Bush in the governor's office.
"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said when he made his announcement.