Republican presidential candidates made a major miscalculation this week by skipping the nation's largest gathering of Hispanic elected officials, local party representatives and event organizers said.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials opened its 24th annual convention Thursday at Walt Disney World, with top billing for a Democratic presidential candidate forum Saturday.
Friday's Republican forum? Canceled. Only Rep. Duncan Hunter of California agreed to show. The other candidates cited scheduling conflicts, including a Saturday debate in Iowa, which Hunter also planned to attend.
"The Republican candidates have blown off Hispanics in Florida," said state Rep. Juan Zapata, a Republican who helped bring the NALEO event to the state.
Zapata hoped the conference would provide a plum opportunity for candidates to court Florida's Hispanics. Instead, he and others say it has become an embarrassment for the party.
SuperDestroyer, if I could address a question to you since you've stated before that more Hispanics will lead to a one-party Democratic rule -- Why do you think the Pub candidates, except for Hunter, who's a non-factor, skipped this event. Just 3 years ago, they made major inroads with Hispanic voters, but now they act like they're radioactive. Or do you think that the whole immigration/amnesty bill fuss has made the whole thing too hot to handle?
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