Op-Ed: Hispanic Bashing by Stewart Becomes Cuccinelli’s Convention Liability

cortez_headshotIn less than two short weeks conservative delegates gather in Richmond to formally elect a Republican slate. The mission is to bolster the 4 point lead Ken Cuccinelli has in recent polls and maintain conservative control for Virginia’s three top elected offices. But that slim 4 point margin could quickly turn into a huge deficit if Prince William County’s Cory Stewart, the most anti-immigrant candidate in Virginia becomes Cooch’s running mate.

If that happens, the election may be doomed.

With Virginia’s changing demographics the minority vote will loom large during the November election… but not at the convention.  Topics such as immigration and race are being down played irresponsibly by the majority of Republican and Tea Party candidates as to not divide their base.

The failure of Virginia conservative candidates in mass to address the difficult immigration issue and their failure to stand shoulder to shoulder with the respected Senator Marco Rubio as the leading voice of immigration change has angered a Latino community that Republicans and Tea Party organizers badly need to advance.

So expect a boycott in Richmond of Hispanic voters with only token representation of die hard and respected Latinos primarily represented by ladies such as Theresa Speake, Lolita Mancheno-Smoak and Marta Saltus of Northern Virginia.

But in my 40 plus years of media and broadcast experience, I know of no candidate that has alienated and insulted the Hispanic community the way Corey Stewart of Prince William County has.

It’s not that he is vigorous in his desire to promote the rule of law and is against amnesty.  Most conservatives are.

The rap on Stewart in the minority community is that he is a Latino-basher when in his own words stated at CPAC in March he said “I detest the word minority outreach”.

What did he detest more the word minority or outreach?

His zeal in the constant beat down of minorities validate his presentation as insensitive and lacking compassion in a locality that boasts thousands of minorities that have played by the rules and defended this country in war and peace. For conservatives it must be all about minority outreach if they are to survive as a party.

If not the minuscule numbers of minorities in Virginia that embrace the Republican party can be blamed on the lack of outreach directly by racial dividers like Stewart. Outreach is why Virginia’s Tea Party has plummeted in effectiveness…And who are some of their organizers embracing? Sadly Stewart but many Tea Party supporters are rethinking that call.

That and Stewart’s abysmal tax increase record in Prince William County will also become front and center news as reporters have another reason to lampoon Cuccinelli’s ticket.

But there is still time.  As a reminder, delegates could vote for Lieutenant Governor candidates Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, E.W. Jackson Sr., Steve Martin, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis or Susan Stimspon… anyone but Stewart.

My sources say Pete Snyder and Scott Lingamfelter have the respect and clout to help the Cuccinelli campaign but it will be your vote that counts.

I recall an old election convention years back in Virginia where conservatives put an equally polarizing candidate of Iran-Contra fame ol’ Ollie North on the ticket for Senate. His ego and alienation of the minority community gave Democrats a victory that was virtually assured for Republicans. I see an Ollie moment in the making and Cuccinelli does not need an anchor around his neck named Stewart when the media begins its enfilading fire during the battle of who has the most liability as a running mate.

And they will.

Daniel Cortez a distinguished Vietnam veteran is a long time Hispanic activist active in minority and veterans affairs. He is a frequent Op-Ed contributor for various Virginia publications. While he leans conservative he states he votes the person not the party. He can be reached at dpcortez1969@yahoo.com