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Republican Party courting Latinos

Nov. 7, 2009 at 5:34 PM

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The Republican Party has to repair fences with Latino voters in America after losing their support in the 2008 presidential election, party officials say.

Much of the Latino vote was driven toward the Democratic party by conservative Republican calls for border fence proposals and cutting healthcare options for illegal immigrants, ABC News reported Saturday.

Conservative attempts to exploit fears of illegal immigration also eroded Latino support for the GOP, Nevada Republican national committeeman Robert List said.

"I think the party needs to rethink their approach to illegal immigration," he said. "However many illegal immigrations there are is almost irrelevant -- they're here."

List said the Republicans have to consider demographic shifts in his state and in the border states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, which have traditionally elected GOP candidates: "They need to recognize that Latinos are going to be majorities in some cases."

Nevada's Latinos are being given close attention by both parties after the 2008 results. The Republicans have chosen Brian Sandoval, 46, as their front-runner for governor in an effort to attract the young Latino vote, ABC News said.

"I firmly believe that the Latino community has deep commitment to family values and are natural constituents of the GOP," List said. "We need to reclaim that voting bloc. I think we can re energize that effort among Latinos."

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