Barrales envisions building a broad support network for Latino Republicans. The best candidates willconnect by focusing on fiscal responsibility and addressing issues important to all Californians.
“From my perspective, health care and education are huge issues, as are economic
related issues,”Barrales said. “For candidates at the local level, it will be things such as public safety and basic services.”
Barrales said not much has changed since he ran for state controller in 1998, garnering 33 percent of thevote.Some party leaders urged the faithful to get behind his candidacy, pointing to him as an example of thefuture and stressing the need to support Latino Republicans. The response, he said, was lukewarm.
“I don’t know if 15 years later the party has made much progress,” said Barrales, who served six years as
deputy assistant to Bush and as White House director of intergovernmental affairs.GROW Elect claims it has helped get 30 Latinos around the state into office since it was formed, mostly inmunicipal posts.The organization spent just a few thousand dollars on each of the races it got involved in last year. Itraised most of its money from GOP mega-
donor Charles Munger Jr., who’s given
the group $112,500since October 2011.GOP Assembly Leader Connie Conway, who gave the group $10,000 in December, said she believes
Barrales will be instrumental in “building a strong bench for Republicans.”
San Diego County Democratic Party Chairwoman Francine Busby dismissed GROW Elect as posing littlethreat.
“Democrats have a strong bond with the Latino community because we support the issues and valuesthat are important to them and their families,” she said.
The county’s Republican Party recently name
d a Latina, Francis Barraza, its executive director andincluded recruitment of Latino candidates on her task list.The 50-year-old Barrales announced his resignation from the chamber in September after running the3,000-member organization since 2006. He was replaced by former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.The son of Mexican immigrants, Barrales served on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in the1990s, and been recognized three times by the Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 mostinfluential Latinos in the country.