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Meg Whitman courts Latino voters. Will it work?

June 20, 2010 | 10:01 am



Meg Whitman has launched her first Spanish-language ads in her bid for governor. But can the Republican gubernatorial nominee successfully court the Latino vote?

One of the ads highlights Whitman's opposition to a controversial Arizona law that compels police to check the immigration status of those stopped on suspicion of a crime. It also says Whitman opposed Proposition 187, the 1994 California ballot measure that would have denied taxpayer-funded services to illegal immigrants. The other focuses on jobs and the economy.

Strategists say Whitman, a billionaire who has put $91 million of her personal wealth into her campaign, must secure substantial support among Latinos if she hopes to prevail over Democrat Jerry Brown in November.

"Unless she gets over one-third of the Latino vote, I don't care how much she spends, she's not going to win," said Allan Hoffenblum, a former Republican consultant who publishes the California Target Book. "She was pushed further to the right on that issue than she wanted to go, but the one key thing she remained steadfast on, even though she whispered it during the primary, was that she opposed the Arizona law."

In the video above, Times Political Writer Seema Mehta assesses the Whitman strategy. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.