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Part III:  Latino contenders Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz

A series by Miriam Raftery, Devoreo Bell and Juwan Armstrong


August 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Winning the general election would be a daunting task for Republicans without support from the growing number of Latino voters across the U.S.  Two of the Republican contenders have Hispanic roots that could be a draw among Latinos, though their stances on immigration and deportation issues are largely at odds with the views of the major immigrant rights groups.  But there are key differences in their positions on core Latino issues, as well as a wide range of other topics. 

Candidate: Marco Rubio, Republican

Bio Basics:  Marco Rubio was elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida in 2010. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants. Rubio earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1993 and went to the University of Miami for his law degree.

Key issues: Rubio supports balancing the federal budget within 10 years and has long advocated freezing spending for everything but defense at 2008 levels. A climate change denier, he states that mankind is not having the effect on the climate that scientists portray. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and replace it with tax credits and fewer regulations. He wants to ban abortion after 20 weeks and believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Controversies: Rubio has been accused of flip-flopping his views on immigration reforms.  In early 2013, Rubio was a member of the bipartisan Senate “gang of eight,” which focused on creating a bill to reform immigration laws.  The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which prompted a significant pushback from conservatives. The Senate passed Rubio’s bill, but the measure failed to make it through the House of Representatives. Later that year, he backed away from the bill, stating that a “piecemeal” approach would be more practical. His decision was made after polling showed his support plunged among Republican voters.

Fascinating fact:  Outside of politics, Rubio is known for his passion for football. He is a die-hard Miami Dolphins fan and his wife was once a cheerleader for the team. According to the Washington Post, His favorite hip-hop songs come from N.W.A, Eminem and Tupac Shakur.

Odds of winning: According to the New York Times, even though he brought in strong support from the Tea Party, Rubio has tried to position himself as more moderate, a move that could leave him without a strong base of support from either wing. Still, among Republican Latinos Rubio would likely gain larger support from the Latino community than Cruz or most other Republicans, given his earlier efforts in immigration reforms. Bet Vegas currently has Rubio pegged at 12 to 1 odds.

Candidate:  Ted Cruz, Republican

Bio Basics: In 2012, Ted Cruz was elected as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas for the Republican Party. He earned his B.A. in Public Policy from Princeton University in 1992. He went on to receive his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1995. From 1995-2003, Cruz worked in the following positions: law clerk to Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist, associate deputy attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice and director of the Office of Policy Planning for the Federal Trade Commission.

Key issues: He believes in mandating a balanced budget, cutting corporate tax rates, and blocking any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S. He supports allowing states to define “marriage” and set strict abortion limits.

Controversies:  Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter has checked 48 statements by Cruz as of late June and found the majority were mostly false, false, or “pants on fire” whoppers.  These included claims made on costs of tax compliance, the rate of small businesses going under, and several false or misleading statements on healthcare reforms.

Fascinating facts: He was born in Canada and he was an adjunct law professor. From 2004 to 2009, Cruz taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation at the University of Texas.

Odds of winning: According to the New York Times, Cruz could possibly be overmatched by rivals who are able to raise more money or enjoy crossover support from more moderate Republicans. In the general election, After turning sharply to the right, Cruz could have difficulty appealing to centrist voters and receiving the electoral vote from voters who agree with his ideologies but do not vote. However, Cruz does have strong rhetorical skills, biographical appeal, and uncompromising conservatism.  His Bet Vega odds? 40 to 1. 

(Note, betting on American political candidates is not allowed in the U.S. but is allowed overseas. Our inclusion of oddsmakers’ handicapping is intended merely for the entertainment and education of our readers.)

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