In a Democratic contest that's still too close to call, Latino votes are critical.
PHOENIX — Late on the afternoon of Super Tuesday, one of Arizona’s most entrenched and prominent Latino politicians strode into the Greater Phoenix Progressive Christian Church and voted for Hillary Clinton. Few recognized Rep. Ed Pastor, who after voting raced to his car, pulled out a clipboard and stood in the parking lot seeking signatures on petitions to land him on the ballot this fall.
Pastor, who has served in Congress since 1991, has long taken the pulse of Arizona’s burgeoning Latino electorate, and earlier in the day had visited heavily Latino districts, where voter turnout was brisk and unprecedented, despite new laws requiring picture IDs.
“Latinos I believe will favor Hillary Clinton because she is familiar to them and they are comfortable with her,” Pastor told Salon.
Popular Gov. Janet Napolitano, on the other hand, has endorsed Barack Obama. The Latino community is sharply divided over immigration issues, and Napolitano drew criticism in 2007 when she signed into law a bill sanctioning employers who hire illegal immigrants.
Arizona’s 673,000 Latino voters, 17 percent of the electorate, will be critically important to the outcome of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, and their choice of candidates could be an indicator of how the Latino vote will break nationally. A January poll showed that Arizona Latinos favored Clinton by almost four to one over Barack Obama, but with nearly one in three voters undecided.
Arcelia Carrasco, a 52-year-old food-processing plant worker, was standing in line to vote for Clinton at the Greater Phoenix church at noon. She had started work at 4 a.m. and reported to the polling place after an eight-hour shift of chopping vegetables. Carrasco, now an American citizen, has been battling to get legal work status in America for her 30-year-old son, who was born in Mexico. She opposes the employer sanctions act, but that didn’t turn her against Obama. She voted for Clinton simply because she figured if anyone could help her, Clinton could, because Clinton is a mother too.
“I voted with my heart,” Carrasco said.
Terry Greene Sterling has written for Phoenix New Times since 1984, when Deborah Laake edited her first piece. Sterling has been named Arizona's top journalist three times and has won more than 40 national and state journalism awards. She left the paper in June to pursue other writing projects. More Terry Greene Sterling.
More Related Stories
- Is the Environmental Defense Fund ruining environmentalism?
- Top 5 investigative videos of the week: "Winning" Afghanistan
- Jester clowns Westboro Baptist Church
- GOP: Party of crybabies
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11