Republican California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder has redoubled efforts to reach out to Latino voters on the eve of the September 14 recall election.
On Wednesday, Elder held a video news conference for "media representing the Latino community".
Among the Latino community leaders who were on hand to give their endorsements were former State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero and former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado.
Speaking at the event, Elder repeatedly cited his position on education as "one of the reasons that the majority of Hispanics...now support [the] recall."
"I'm appealing to everybody, but I do believe that the impact of the poor quality of education disproportionately hurts black and brown people," he said.
Two LPO sources with ties to the Republican Party in California said they expected Elder - a former talk show host, author, and attorney - to focus heavily on education and housing in the days leading up to the recall.
"It seems pretty clear that he thinks that's a message that will resonate in many of these communities," one of the sources said.
More than half of all students in California Public Schools are Latino, according to data from the California Department of Education.
On Wednesday, Elder cited a study - which he didn't identify - as finding that 5% of all public-school teachers "were incompetent".
"That's 15,000 incompetent public-school years," he said. "It's almost impossible to fire them."
Elder, however, faces an uphill battle in the competition for Latino voters in California. Both the California Latino Legislative Caucus and Voto Latino, a national organization, have backed current Governor Gavin Newsom.
Voto Latino, for its part, has announced outreach plans it hopes will attract 600,000 Latino voters to vote for Newsom.
Newsom's supporters also point to Elder's past - and sometimes controversial - statements on immigration.
He's previously said that he is in favor of reversing California's sanctuary laws and that he prefers the term "illegal" over "undocumented".
Juan Rodriguez, the campaign manager of Newsom's âStop the Republican Recall' organization, was quoted by the Sacramento Bee as saying that "Latinos won't be fooled" by Elder.
"Elder stands against all of the progress our families have made. He's opposed to the existence of a minimum wage. He has fought to deny immigrant kids access to public schools and emergency medical services," he said. "He wants to repeal Obamacare and worker protections."
"Gov. Newsom has been fighting aggressively for our communities, and Latinos strongly oppose this Republican recall," he added.
One of the LPO sources said he didn't believe that Elder's past comments would hurt him much.
"Latinos in the state are worried about the economy, jobs and schools more than immigration," he said.
At Wednesday's event, Maldonado agreed, saying he believes the economy, crime and education are the issues that will ultimately matter to Latino voters on September 14.
"Who can turn this state around? Who can bring a check and balance to [those] powerful groups that are in Sacramento today? In Sacramento, that person is Larry Elder," Maldonado was quoted as saying by the Sacramento Bee.
A poll from California Politics and Emerson College conducted between July 30 and August 1, for example, showed that 46% of respondents were in favor of Newsom's recall and 48% against it. More than half of Latinos - 54% - said they were in favor. They were the only racial group with a majority in favor o
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