At national Latino officials event, Perry takes heat on immigration, receives ‘tepid’ response
Two weeks after receiving a standing ovation from a largely Latino crowd at an anti-abortion rally in Los Angeles, Perry was met with a “tepid” and “lukewarm” response from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) today in his home state.
Perry’s projected performance among national Latinos could have implications for a White House run, which, the Wall Street Journal reports today, Perry may have already decided to announce, right around the time of his Aug. 6 prayer rally with the American Family Association.
In San Antonio today, Perry addressed some 500 people at the NALEO conference luncheon event. Extolling his appointments of Latinos to statewide offices and focusing on job growth, Perry made no mention of his designated emergency legislation on “sanctuary cities” working its way through the Legislature’s special session.
Latino leaders in attendance were not shy to criticize Perry’s track record on immigration issues.
That stands in contrast to Perry’s warm reception in Los Angeles, where event organizers and attendees were wholly focused on social issues rather than immigration.
Francis Guerro, special events manager of the anti-abortion rally in mid-June, told the Texas Independent that “nothing political was touched on” during that Latino-oriented event. When asked if the organization knew of the governor’s immigration legislation, Guerro replied the hosting group only looked at his support for pro-life issues.
Regarding today’s event, the San Antonio Express-News reports that San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (twin brother of Democratic state Rep. Joaquin Castro) delivered “harsh words” on Perry’s group of pet immigration initiatives, calling it “easily the most anti-Latino agenda in more than a generation” in a speech before Perry took the stage.
State Reps. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) and Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) also expressed disappointment with the governor’s stringent immigration measures.
“After he received an extremely tepid response I think that threw him off his game,” Anchia told the Texas Tribune. “I certainly think it wasn’t one of this best performances. What message can you deliver on the heels of declaring sanctuary cities an emergency item and later adding it to the call of a special session?”
Martinez Fischer similarly told the Tribune, “I think the governor is at his best when he is comfortable with his environment and obviously reaching out to the Hispanic community is something he’s never done before,” he said. “When you want to pass sanctuary cities at a time when we are not even supposed to be in session, I think you have a hard time saying ‘Please give me your support.’”
NALEO released a study projecting that 12.2 million Latinos will vote in the 2012 presidential election, a 26 percent increase from 2008. That figure could weigh heavy in Perry’s mind as he considers a possible presidential run.
In George W. Bush’s first presidential victory in 2000, he nabbed 34 percent of Hispanic voters, following that up with statistically significant gains among Hispanics in 2004. The exact figure has been disputed, but some exit polls suggested it was as high as 44 percent. In 2008, McCain garnered 31 percent of Hispanic voters, with their total share of the popular vote increasing to 9 percent, up one point from 2004.