29 September 2008

Denver Post: Bob Schaffer has a Latino Problem

According to an article today in the Denver Post, Bob Schaffer leads Mark Udall by a point, 45%-44%, among white voters in Colorado. The article goes on to cite a recent Quinnipiac poll, however, showing Udall up by 8 overall. Why the discrepancy? Schaffer has a Latino problem.

The lede from the Post:

Early in April, a group of high-power Republican Latinos sat down with GOP Senate candidate Bob Schaffer and pressed him to reach out to the state's Latino voters. They advised him to hire Latino staffers, offered to introduce him to community leaders and reminded him of the importance of attending the community's political events, such as the annual Bernie Valdez luncheon.
And the follow-up?
Schaffer "had a little bit of a problem" with it, said Gil Cisneros, who attended the meeting and is now helping John McCain coordinate a Latino outreach in Colorado.

"He said, 'Well, I've never campaigned like that. I consider myself to be an American first,' " Cisneros said in an interview the day after the parley, suggesting Schaffer didn't like to think about voters based on their racial or ethnic group.
I think Gil Cisneros is probably bailing Schaffer out here a little by suggesting that the candidate doesn't like to think about voters along racial or ethnic lines. This from the campaign that's being managed by Dick Wadhams, former strategist to George "Macaca" Allen. Yes. I'm positively certain that the Schaffer campaign just doesn't like to think about voters along racial or ethnic lines.

Let's not forget that Schaffer found his campaign in a bit of uncomfortably warm water back in August, when his son's Facebook page was discovered to host a slew of unpleasant statements about slavery and gays. The site was scrubbed and Schaffer's son apologized for the racist and homophobic statements, though the candidate never did.

The campaign told the Post that they'll get out the Latino vote on election day, but I have to think that even Wadhams recognizes this as posturing and hot air. Denver's Latino community is expected to turn out in record numbers to vote for Obama, and the Schaffer campaign appears appropriately worried that this will translate to a big D down the ballot. Schaffer, it appears, is going to need more than campaign rhetoric to turn the tide on this one.