Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mitt Romney campaigns in LA, appeals to Latino business leaders

When he comes to California, Mitt Romney spends most of his time raising money. On Monday, with the election just 50 days away, the Republican presidential nominee focuses on Latino voters.

Needing to attract more Latino support in swing states like Nevada and Florida, Romney delivers a noontime address to the annual meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown L.A.

"The U.S.H.C.C. Annual National Convention provides an important forum for Governor Romney to address key economic issues that directly impact the country's 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses," Chairwoman Nina Vaca said in a statement. “We are thrilled that Governor Romney has accepted our invitation.”

President Obama spoke to the group previously.

The group says more than 5,000 Hispanic business owners, corporate executives, and public officials are attending the conference. It's unclear how many will be present for Romney’s address.

Romney doesn’t need to win a majority of Latino support to beat Obama in November. But analysts and his own advisors have suggested he must capture close to 40 percent. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll last month found Obama leading Romney 63 to 28 percent. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.

Romney’s immigration policies may be one reason: he opposes providing a path to legalization for illegal immigrants already in the country, and he opposes the Dream Act. Obama supports both.

At the same time, unemployment and home foreclosures have hit Latinos disproportionately hard. Romney backers say that provides an opening for the GOP nominee to convince Latino voters that it's time for a change in the White House.

One more note on the NBC poll: it found Latinos are far less excited about this election than the one four years ago. It found 61 percent of Hispanics had a “high level” of enthusiasm – 20 points below 2008.

So Latinos may not even show up to the polls in large numbers – something that could benefit Romney.

 

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