latino lingo

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Lieberman/Lamont Race in CT largely ignore Latinos

Anyone paying any kind of attention to politics knows Joe Lieberman is in trouble. The 3-term incumbent senator from Connecticut is trailing newcomer Ned Lamont in the latest polls with the primary tomorrow (the latest Quinnipiac University poll has Ned Lamont ahead but within the margin of error).

Lamont is a millionaire who is essentially running on an anti-Iraq war and anti-George Bush platform. He has succeeded in using Lieberman's vote for the war (although Lieberman's position is no different than most Democratic senators including Hillary) and the now infamous "kiss" from Dubya to pit Lieberman as less than a Democrat (although independent Congressional Quarterly has Lieberman voting w/Democrats 90% of the time).

What is interesting, from my perspective of course, is that neither candidate has actively sought the Latino vote in Connecticut. While Latinos historically don't vote in primaries, unlike in other parts of the U.S., Connecticut Latinos are largely Puerto Rican -- meaning they are at least eligible to vote. Lieberman's track record with jobs, health care, social security and others would track well with Connecticut's Latino population.

There are now approximately 440,000 Latinos in the state and approximately 65% are Puerto Rican. With the race so close, the candidates should have recognized the Latino vote could be the deciding factor to give the winner a few additional points. Unfortunately, neither has and thus they have wasted an opportunity.


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