PHOENIX, AZ -- DeeDee Blase founded "Somos Republicans" to recruit to Arizona Hispanics to the Repubican Party, but not the official state party or the official local party. Somos Republicans (which translates to "we are Repubicans") deliberately distances itself from all official Republican Party entities, citing the dissatisfaction of Hispanics with Republican leaders.
According to the Arizona Republic, Blase believes that it "helps her cause to not be associated with either the state or county GOP." Arizona state and local Republican Party leaders are, according to Blase, "a huge turnoff" to the Hispanic community that Somos Republicans targets with its outreach efforts.
Blase says associating her outreach efforts with prominent local GOP leaders like Sheriff Joe Arpaio (known for immigration "sweeps" in Hispanic neighborhoods), Senator Russell Pearce (infamous for advocating "Operation Wetback"), and Arizona Republican Party Chair Randy Pullen (a long-time immigration control advocate) are nonstarters in the Arizonan Hispanic community. Though Blase is careful not to use the word 'racist,' Political Latino, a local blog recruiting for Somos Repubicans, is more straightforward,
Are you pro-life? Do you like business/jobs in your community? Will high taxes help keep companies in your city or town? Does Joe Arpio need to go? Latinos from other countries come to the US to run from Socialism not to Socialism Mr. Obama! right?
yes, yes, no, Hell YES!, right! : If these were all your answers to the questions above you are a Conservative my friend. Better yet a Business minded Republican. As far as Joe Arpio he is a racist and that is that.
Ironically, Blase wants the U.S. to allow "law-abiding immigrants" to stay in the U.S., and she was motivated to form Somos Republicans by her disappointment that Obama has not tackled immigration reform just nine months into his presidency, "Obama sold Latinos down the river. It's my mission to call him out on this."
Arizona's Republican leaders reacted to the formation of Somos Republicans:
Party spokesman Matt Roberts said the state GOP was only vaguely aware of the group, but that the party welcomes it as part of the Republicans' "big tent" philosophy.
"I think that just speaks to the diversity of our party," Roberts said.
Tom Husband, executive director of the Maricopa County Republican Party, said he hasn't noted any influx of new applications.
He hadn't heard of Somos Republicans. But like Roberts, Husband said
he welcomed the group and its efforts to expand the GOP base.
Arpaio said Blase was trying to agitate groups of people who don't like his stance on illegal immigration. But he said he doesn't believe it's fair to blame the entire Republican Party.
"I'll take the heat if she doesn't like what I'm doing," he said. "But let's not bring the political labels into the mix because I don't see everyday Republican politicians - especially the congressional delegation - standing next to me defending me."
According to Blase, Somos Republicans is working independently from the party structure to register Hispanics as Repubican voters, recruit Hispanics to fill vacant Republican precinct committeeperson slots, and recruit more Hispanic candidates to run on the Republican ticket.
Blase says her group has about 200 members.
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