As Rick Perry ascends, Mitt Romney chases Latino vote

(Los Angeles Times) Add the competition for Latino votes to the swiftly escalating battle between Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

Romney will address the Republican National Hispanic Assembly convention Sept. 2 during a previously planned fund-raising trip to Tampa, Fla.

Historically, Latinos have not been a huge factor in Republican nominating races. But they could be next winter, especially in Florida, which is shaping up as one of the biggest tests of 2012.  If Perry and Romney meet expectations in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Sunshine State could be a pivotal showdown, as it was four years ago.

As governor of Texas, Perry started off as a dove on immigration, but he’s become more of a hard-liner in recent years.  He signed a measure to provide in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants, similar to the Dream Act that Republicans have blocked in Congress.  In his most recent reelection, Perry received approximately 38% of the Latino vote.

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