Republicans Woo Latino Voters In 2012 Elections
Panelists speak at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Albuquerque. From Left to Right: Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum; Jon Barela, New Mexico secretary of economic development; Massey Villarreal, CEO of Precision Task Group, Inc.; and Ruben Barrales, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Mónica Ortiz Uribe
September 23, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Hundreds of Hispanic Republicans are gathering in Albuquerque hoping to build momentum ahead of next year's presidential election.

They are here because New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic voters in the country, a key voting bloc the GOP needs to pursue in order to regain the White House in 2012.

Hispanics have a long-standing tradition of backing the Democratic Party, but a new group started this year wants to change that.

The Hispanic Leadership Network is a national organization that aims to woo conservative Latinos into the Republican Party. The decision to hold their second convention in Albuquerque is not accidental.

New Mexico's Republican governor, Susana Martinez, is the country's first Latina governor. She won nearly 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Experts predict Hispanic voters will play an important role in the outcome of next year's presidential election, especially in states like Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

Fronteras: The Changing America Desk will be covering the gathering and have a follow up story next week.

For more immediate updates, follow @MOrtizUribe on Twitter for the latest details about the conference.