Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 | 2 a.m.
A team of prominent national Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, plans to gather in Miami today to begin mapping out GOP outreach to Hispanics for the 2014 cycle, according to sources familiar with the effort.
The meeting is being organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative group focused on broadening the GOP’s appeal among Hispanic Americans.
Bush, who has been involved with the Hispanic Leadership Network for several years, is expected to attend, along with former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Fred Malek, chairman of the board of the American Action Forum and finance chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Also participating are Hispanic Leadership Network Executive Director Jennifer Korn, former Texas Rep. Quico Canseco and Rosario Marin, a former U.S. treasurer.
One strategist involved in the session called it a preliminary “gathering of the minds” focused on “the importance of Hispanics, looking forward to 2014 and beyond.”
Republican leaders have reacted with dismay to the party’s performance among Hispanic voters in the 2012 campaign. National exit polls showed President Barack Obama winning 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, exceeding even his 36-point victory margin with Hispanics over John McCain in 2008.
The Hispanic Leadership Network has raised the alarm since November about the need for Republicans to improve their standing with Hispanic voters. Last month, the Hispanic Leadership Network and the GOP polling outfit Resurgent Republic released a survey detailing the depth of Republican problems with Hispanic voters and urging immediate steps to remedy the situation.
The survey found that in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, big majorities of Hispanic voters said Republicans don’t “respect the values and concerns of the Hispanic community.”
“Republicans face some major challenges among Hispanic Americans, problems that will not be resolved just by passing immigration reform legislation. Years of harsh rhetoric and punitive policies will not be undone overnight. Fixing a broken immigration system is necessary but not sufficient to make Republicans competitive in the Hispanic community,” the polling analysis concluded. “But resolving those problems is imperative if Republicans hope to remain a competitive force in national politics.”