Reporting from San Diego — Although she has struggled to capture the support of Latinos in her race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina said Tuesday that she was mounting an aggressive campaign to reach that key segment of voters before election day.
After a session with members of the Latino business community at a Cuban-Puerto Rican restaurant where she outlined her plans for tax cuts and creating jobs, Fiorina told reporters her campaign would make sure Latino voters "understand who I am" while making the case that Boxer is "no friend of the Latino community."
"We're building a lot of support in this community," she said.
But the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive has significant ground to make up among Latino voters, who make up a fifth of the state's electorate. Though she assembled a coalition, Amigos de Carly, months ago to draw Latino support, she trailed Boxer by 38 points among registered Latino voters in a recent Los Angeles Times/USC poll. In the governor's race, by contrast, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown led his Republican rival Meg Whitman among Latino voters by half that margin.
That disparity may be explained in part by Whitman's extensive Spanish-language advertising campaign, but also by the positions Fiorina has carved out on immigration issues. Unlike Whitman, Fiorina backed Arizona's controversial immigration law. She has also rebuffed questions about whether there should be a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., calling those questions an effort to change the subject from the federal government's responsibility to secure the border.