MIAMI, May 25 (Reuters) – As he toured the country before the formal announcement of his presidential bid on Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis regaled crowds with the story of his surprising re-election victory last year in sprawling, largely Hispanic Miami-Dade County.
It was the first time a Republican had won the Democratic-leaning county in 20 years, and DeSantis did it by winning 62% of the Hispanic vote.
That victory in 2022 is raising hopes among some Republicans about how DeSantis could perform in the 2024 presidential contest among Hispanic voters nationwide. Those voters comprise almost 15% of the U.S. electorate and have skewed Democratic in past presidential elections.
“People are tired of being told that because you are born a certain way, you must vote a certain way,” said Kevin Cooper, vice-chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, which helped get out the vote for DeSantis.
DeSantis’ advisers did not respond to requests for comment on his strategy with regard to Hispanic voters.
But more than a dozen Republican and Democratic operatives described a multi-pronged approach that relied on outreach to Latinos who traditionally voted Democratic, messaging on economic opportunity in the wake of the pandemic and aggressive use of Spanish-language media.