nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50s247banner041514 network-banner-promo mtmhpBanner
14
AOL.com
AOL.com
AOL Mail
AOL Mail
Video
Video
AOL Favorites
Favorites
AOL.com

Christie finds allies among Hispanic leaders

Superstorm Sandy Christie
His administration gripped by scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has found unlikely allies among the nation's Hispanic community.

In New Jersey and beyond, some minority leaders usually aligned with Democrats are giving the Republican governor the benefit of the doubt regarding controversies that have enveloped his office, in part because of Christie's aggressive courtship of minority voters throughout his first four years in office. Just days before an apparent case of political retribution by his office was exposed this month, Christie signed a new law granting in-state college tuition rates to New Jersey immigrants in the country illegally, winning national praise from Hispanic officials.

The gesture may alienate some conservatives in the next presidential election should he seek the White House, but it helped cement Christie's status as one of the Hispanic community's more popular Republicans.

"I think everybody needs to take a deep breath," said the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who delivered an invocation at the last Democratic National Convention. "We don't want to judge anything before all the facts are out. Gov. Christie has said he did not know about it. Right now, there's no evidence to the contrary."

Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, suggested that Democrats are pushing new allegations against Christie because they're afraid of his strength as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate.

"I just don't see the huge scandal," Aguilar said, describing Christie's popularity among Hispanics as a potential "game changer" for the Republican Party.

Christie has apologized and fired senior aides for his administration's role in traffic jams apparently engineered last fall to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse his re-election campaign. The Democratic-led state Legislature is investigating the incident. Another Democratic mayor said over the weekend that the Christie administration balked on delivering Superstorm Sandy aid unless she supported a prime real estate project.

The Hispanic community is by no means unified behind Christie. And even those pleased with his minority outreach suggest their views could change should new evidence surface in the abuse-of-power allegations. But their early support highlights Christie's popularity with Hispanic voters compared with Republicans elsewhere ahead of the 2016 presidential contest.

The GOP's last presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, won just 27 percent of the national Hispanic vote. A year later, Christie captured roughly half of Hispanic voters in an overwhelming New Jersey re-election victory that served as the opening argument for a potential presidential bid. Republican strategists concede that the party must improve its standing among the growing demographic if it hopes to take back the White House.

"This election has taught us that the ways we divide each other - by race, by class, by ethnicity, by wealth, by political party - is neither permanent nor necessary," Christie declared Tuesday shortly after taking the oath of office to begin his second term.

He scheduled his inaugural celebration for New York's Ellis Island, the nation's storied entry point for millions of immigrants. The Tuesday night event was canceled because of weather concerns, however.

But in a speech that ignored the swirling controversy, Christie cited the passage of New Jersey's student tuition bill as an example of putting "the future of our state ahead of the partisans who would rather demonize than compromise."

"We have to be willing to reach out to others who look or speak differently than us," he said.

Christie has refused to say whether he supports federal legislation outlining a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the country illegally. But in New Jersey, minority leaders report that he began reaching out almost immediately after taking office. The Christie administration focused, in particular, on helping minority business owners cut through government red tape.

"He's always been very popular with the Hispanic community," said Carlos Medina, chairman of the New Jersey statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Medina described the allegations against the Christie administration as "so out of character." "Even now, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt," he said. "It's innocent until proven guilty."

Others aren't as forgiving.

Frank Argote-Freyre, president of the New Jersey-based Latino Action Network, is grateful that Christie supported the law granting in-state college tuition rates to New Jersey immigrants in the country illegally. But he says that the governor has consistently cut funding from minority groups, was slow to resolve problems on a Sandy-related Spanish-language website and directed a disproportionate level of Sandy aid to homeowners instead of rental units typically occupied by minorities.

"From the perspective of our organization, and I'd venture to guess most Latinos, he's a disaster for our community," Argote-Freyre said. In the weeks since the scandal erupted, "his reputation has suffered in all segments of the community."

More From You

404 Comments
*0 / 3000 Character Maximum
Filter by:
jdogeepep January 22 2014 at 11:43 PM

he may have did something good to help those that want to go to school.but what about the kids CHRISTIE CRAP ON WHO CANT DEFEND THEM SELFS?

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
lunarstruck January 22 2014 at 11:42 PM

Anyone think its wise to blindly accept the corruption they have in the Mexican government like this? Shame on you, Mexican "leaders", this is disgusting to just look the other way - you came here for a better life yet you are making ours worse?

Reply Flag as Abusive -1 rate up rate down
ROGER OLIN January 22 2014 at 11:03 PM

This Democrat administration has tried to devide us and blame others for their shortcommings. We Americans should be proud of our forefathers who worked hard to provide for their families and build wealth. For Obama to wish to take wealth from the hard working Americans and punish them for hard work and outstanding acheivemwnt is ludicris and unamerican. Hard work and commitment is what has made us a nation of strength, Obama and his administration seek to devide and humiliate those of acheivement.
Is this what a Harvard education is all ab out. Thank God their are Governor Christie individuals who speak out and also roll up their sleeves and lead by accomplishments not by weakening our resolve and country. I served as a Marine and I have no respect for this Commander and Chief Mr Obama. As for Hillary Clinton, " YOU CAN NOT BE ALLOWED TO SWEEP BENGAZI UNDER THE CARPET"

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
josephinero January 22 2014 at 10:46 PM

i think cris cristy is a great man and honest i dont think he would do something like that to hurt his fellow man. he is to be trusted. if he runs for president i will vote for him.

Reply Flag as Abusive -3 rate up rate down
mine January 22 2014 at 9:55 PM

If only the democrats were so upset about all the past and present politicians would I think their belly aching would count. Corzine was a govenor of New Jersey and then the senator from that state and then he helped scam $1.5 BILLION from customers in MF Global and that was years ago and he is still running free. The weekend that MF Global went under Corzine was in France looking for a good retirement home to buy and he was recorded on the phone advising his assistants to illegally transfer money from MF customers to cover his bad European bond buying.
The only reason he is still walking around is because he was a democrat politician and a high up donating leader at Goldman Sachs. And really, why is the govenors office determining how traffic is run? Shouldn't the people in the traffic department also be held responsible for doing the dirty work? OOPS, forgot, government workers are never held responsible, unless they are republican!

Reply Flag as Abusive +2 rate up rate down
Fred January 22 2014 at 7:47 PM

Can look a T V Camera stright in the lense and lie, but so can Hillery, decisions, decisions. If this is what they want to shove down our throats, why bother voting.

Reply Flag as Abusive rate up rate down
1 reply to Fred's comment
larry January 23 2014 at 12:14 AM

If memory serves me correctly, Barack Obama looked directly into the camera, looked directly at the news media and the American people and lied consistantly for 3 years "If you like your healthcare you can keep it-----period". "If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor----period". Obama, Hilary Clinton and Susan Rice lied about Benghazi.

Reply Flag as Abusive -3 rate up rate down
tc January 22 2014 at 6:53 PM

Republicans must dump this crude character actor and get to the business of finding us a good, clean, well-spoken candidate.

Reply Flag as Abusive -3 rate up rate down
stephenmfeldman2 January 22 2014 at 6:44 PM

Christie had scheduled his inaugural celebration for NEW YORK'S Ellis Island. Was he intending to seize the island for New Jersey as that State had planned to connived to do in the past? Maybe he intended to seize Manhattan for New Jersey when he blockaded the GW Bridge! It will cost him a lot more tha $24 worth of beads to accomplish that.

Reply Flag as Abusive -2 rate up rate down
mirrorimage1116 January 22 2014 at 6:37 PM

from what i have seen no one has come with evidence that christie had any connection to closing the bidge . . media keeps bringing it up but not giving us evidence that he did anything
. like reporting flying saucers in the globe and enquirer newspapers you see in line at the grocery store .... some pretty famous polititians news outlets are looking like fools

Reply Flag as Abusive +4 rate up rate down
Shaggy's AOL January 22 2014 at 6:36 PM

So, in a nutshell, the Hispanic leaders are giving Christie the benefit of the doubt, despite obvious evidence against him, because he is giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. What they (Hispanics) are afraid of is that Christie will be removed form office and the in-state tuition goes bye-bye. Well, let's hope for that because nobody but legal American citizens deserve US dollars for anything. Illegals need deportation and they can start over with the legal process to become citizens. Most have committed their first crime against America by illegally coming into the country. Let's ad social security fraud, medicaid fraid, voter fraud to the mix.

Reply Flag as Abusive +3 rate up rate down
~~ 2592000

Voting...

More From Our Partners