“Did you hear Romney say in one of the debates that 50 percent of college students can’t find jobs? That’s crazy,” said Quinones, who is studying horticulture. “I think I’ll feel more comfortable if Mitt Romney is in charge.”
Quinones comes from a solidly Republican, Cuban-American family that represents the longtime face of the Hispanic vote in Florida. But the explosive growth in the Puerto Rican population—from 482,000 in 2000 to 850,000 today—is diluting the Cuban-American community’s influence. Cuban-Americans make up 32 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, while Puerto Ricans compose 28 percent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Courting the Hispanic vote in Florida once meant a trip to Miami for a cortadito and a declaration ofCuba Libre! Now it also involves a more economically framed pitch here and in nearby Kissimmee, where Romney campaigned with Rubio last week.
“I’d been looking forward to being here with you today,” Romney said. “I wanted to be able to speak a little in Spanish, but Marco did that for me, and I appreciate that.”
This article appeared in print as “Shades of Brown.”
This article appeared in the Saturday, November 3, 2012 edition of National Journal.
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