Reigle seeking to win Hispanic-American support

From left, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla, and Delaware House Republican nominee Hans Reigle. (Delaware State News/Matt Bittle)

From left, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla, and Delaware House Republican nominee Hans Reigle. (Delaware State News/Matt Bittle)

DOVER — Barack Obama won 71 percent of Hispanic voters in the 2012 presidential election, and this year, Hispanics have a strong negative view of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

But some Republicans believe their party can do well with the Hispanic vote in November. They say voters from South and Central America have the same priorities as other Americans and admit that while the GOP has not always reached out to minorities, it can start doing so.

To that end, Republican House of Representatives nominee Hans Reigle on Monday hosted an event designed to appeal to Hispanic voters in Delaware.

Mr. Reigle, who acknowledges being competitive among minorities is very important to his chances, trumpeted support he has received from several prominent Hispanics in Delaware, as well as a sitting member of Congress.

VOTE 1 COL by . U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican and the son of Cubans who fled their home country in the 1960s, flew in to Washington from Miami Monday morning and then drove to Dover to show his support for Mr. Reigle.

About 20 people gathered in a room at Dover Downs to cheer on the campaign. Multiple Hispanic attendees called for new leadership in Delaware, which is largely controlled by Democrats.

Rep. Curbelo was one of several speakers Monday who said the Republican Party’s support for lower taxes and fewer regulations can draw Hispanic voters, although he said immigration reform must first be addressed.

“Both parties have failed the country” by not revamping U.S. immigration laws, he said.

If legislation to change the immigration system passes, Rep. Curbelo predicted, then the GOP will successfully pull Hispanic voters.

“We’ve had candidates in the past that have had some success. President George W. Bush got almost half of the Hispanic vote in 2004,” he said.

State Rep. Joseph Miro, a Pike Creek Valley Republican born in Cuba, questioned why Latinos typically vote Democratic, while local businessman Jose Echeverri took a similar stance.

“I really believe it’s a myth about who we’re all voting for. We Latinos came here, Hispanics, Colombianos … came here to work,” Mr. Echeverri said. “We are a working people. We love to be self-employed.

“I don’t want to pay taxes more than I should. I don’t want government behind me. This is all traits of us Latinos. We love God. We love the church. We love the family, our parents. This is who we are.

“So sometimes I get a little confused as to why somehow when I show up at a certain place, they look at me, see my face and say ‘Oh. The big D.’ And then I speak and they say ‘Oop.’”

Mr. Reigle touted his own background as the son of a German mother, comparing his experiences to those shared by many Hispanics. Both he and Rep. Curbelo, for instance, are fluent in another language and grew up surrounded by unique parts of their cultures, such as foods not found in many American homes.

Mr. Reigle also pointed to his background in the U.S. Air Force, which he said caused him to become familiarized with countries throughout the Americas — countries Rep. Curbelo said are too often ignored by Congress.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 percent of Delaware’s population is Hispanic, about half the national rate.

The election is Nov. 8. Mr. Reigle is competing against Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester, the Green Party’s Mark Perri and Libertarian Scott Gesty.

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