Former Bush aide heads effort to elect Latino Republicans in California

The California-based PAC GROW Elect, which launched in 2011 with the goal of increasing the ranks of Latino Republican elected officials in California, is expanding.     

GROW Elect has brought on its first president and CEO in former George W. Bush aide Ruben Barrales, and in the wake of an abysmal showing among Hispanic voters nationally for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, the PAC is pledging an “aggressive expansion” of its political plan.  

The hiring of Barrales is the first step in expanding the PAC, which recruits and trains potential candidates at the state and local level.  

“We’re definitely focused on local races because that’s where we’re going to find those future leaders in Californi,” Barrales tells C&E. “As we move forward we will also get into state races and then probably support federal candidates as well.”

Barrales joins GROW Elect after serving as President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest in California. Before that, Barrales was deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and White House director of intergovernmental affairs over a span of six years.

“What I expect them to do is increase the numbers, increase the resources and really to have a strong network that Latino Republicans can plug into and count on for help and support,” Barrales says. “The end result will be a stronger Latino community in California and a stronger Republican Party as well.”

A release on the PAC’s new hire included a plug from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who praised the group’s efforts. After his party’s poor showing among minority voters this past cycle, Priebus has increased the RNC’s focus on reaching Hispanic voters. It was one of the tasks given to the chairman’s five-person committee currently searching for answers to the party’s messaging woes.      

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