Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, believes his candidate does not need to do better with Hispanic voters nationwide — as long as he can convince enough Latinos in key battleground states to vote for him, the presumed Republican nominee can win the White House.
“If we get into the high 20s in those states with Hispanics, we will win them, and in Florida we can do even better if we do what we need to do in the Cuban community,” Manafort told the Huffington Post.
A recent Fox News Latino poll of registered Hispanic voters showed Trump losing the Latino vote to Hillary Clinton by 62 percent to 23 percent – lower than Mitt Romney’s 27 percent garnered in the national election in 2012. Generally, it is thought that Republicans need to get about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, the same percentage George W. Bush received, to win the presidency.
Manafort called the national polls “distorted” because they rely “too much” on Hispanics from New York and California where, he said, “most of the radical Hispanics are.”
Instead, Manafort believes Trump can get by selectively winning over Hispanics in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. “We’re going to target Hispanic voters in those and other swing states,” he said.
It has been reported that the Trump campaign believe he can win the support of enough white voters – including first-time voters – and just enough minority voters to defeat Clinton.
While Manafort downplayed the effect of the Hispanic vote nationally, he also believes Trump will refrain from choosing a minority or a woman as his vice presidential running mate.
“That would be viewed as pandering, I think,” Manafort told HuffPo.
The Fox News Latino poll showed that 86 percent of voters said a Hispanic vice presidential candidate would make no difference in how they view Trump.
On Thursday, the real estate tycoon denied that his campaign has ruled out considering minority candidates for the ticket.
“[Manafort] was misquoted a couple of times. A lot,” Trump said. “We will have women involved at highest levels.”
The comments follow shortly after Trump publicly criticized New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez – the nation’s first Hispanic female governor – after she declined to go to his rally in Albuquerque on Tuesday. “She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on: Let’s go, governor,” Trump said.
Fellow Republicans, including his former opponent Florida Senator Marco Rubio, came to the defense of Martinez – who was widely speculated to be on the short list of possible vice presidential picks for Trump.
A source told Fox News Tuesday that Martinez is not being vetted for a possible spot on the GOP ticket.