Latinos are the nation's largest ethnic or race minority and the fastest-growing minority group in the country, making up about 15 percent of the nation's total population, according to the Census Bureau. Latinos make up 9 percent of the nation's total electorate. And according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 66 percent of the Latino registered voters support Obama over John McCain.
Latinos could play a significant role in this year's presidential elections by increasing the Democratic votes but that is if they turn out to vote. Latinos often turn out to the polls in much smaller numbers than other ethnic groups, although the figure has been rising since 2004.
Rally attendee Tomás Serrano, of Lorain and Puerto Rican descent, said he plans to vote for Obama in November. “We have to vote for him because the other guy isn't going to help us,” Serrano said, referring to the middle class.
Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth D. McClintock, who has previously urged Puerto Ricans to vote and said they often do not turn out to vote, traveled to the Ohio region to campaign for Obama. He also came to speak before a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Cleveland.
“Jobs is what brought Puerto Ricans to Ohio in the 40s and 50s,” McClintock said. Obama “is the great defender of jobs for Ohio and Lorain.”
Clinton, however, did not speak about Obama's immigration reform plans – an important issue to many Latinos.
Clinton did more energizing than convincing of the crowd to support Obama but she directly signaled her supporters during the primaries. “For those of you who supported me, I thank you and I ask you to work as hard for Obama as you did for me.”
Clinton called upon the attendees to volunteer and get mobilized to help elect Obama. “We have the opportunity to go beyond the failed policies of the last eight years or continue them,” Clinton said. “I encourage all of you to do everything you can between now and Nov. 4 to make sure that we have a Democratic team back in the White House.”
Betty White, of Elyria, is volunteering for the Obama campaign in her city. “I came out to support Barack Obama, to help in any way that I can,” White said, “I realize that we all have to do our part.”