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Brown set to challenge Whitman among Latino voters

July 8, 2010 | 10:12 am

In the wake of a new Field Poll that shows Meg Whitman running strong among California's Latino voters, Democrat Jerry Brown will hold a press conference with Latino leaders in Los Angeles on Thursday and begin countering Whitman's Spanish-language offensive.

The Field Poll showed Brown's lead among California Latino voters was just 11 points, with 50% of those surveyed saying they supported Brown and 39% expressing support for Whitman. Speaking on KGO radio Thursday morning in San Francisco, Brown said he was gathering with Latino leaders in Los Angeles Thursday to try to shore up a voting bloc that has been reliably Democratic in recent elections.

"They're going to point out on the record where Ms. Whitman is saying one thing in English and something else in Spanish," Brown said. Whitman has launched Spanish-language ads declaring her opposition to Arizona's immigration law and California's Proposition 187.

But during Whitman's primary campaign, former Gov. Pete Wilson, a strong backer of Proposition 187, cut a radio ad for Whitman ensuring Republican voters that she would be "tough as nails" on the issue of illegal immigration.

"Leaders are quite chagrined and shocked at the way the Whitman campaign can say one thing in English which is very hostile to the Latino community and then take out billboards and ads and make it sound like she was fighting Pete Wilson and Prop. 187 when in truth she wasn't even here in the state of California," Brown said.

You can listen to Brown's remarks here. His comments begin at about the 21:00 mark.

--Anthony York in Sacramento