4 tight governor races where the Latino vote will matter most

A total of 36 states have gubernatorial seats that are up for grabs on Nov. 4, and polls show 10 of those races remain too…
4 tight governor races where the Latino vote will matter most

A total of 36 states have gubernatorial seats that are up for grabs on Nov. 4, and polls show 10 of those races remain too close to call. But in many of these states with close governor races, Latinos make up a small share of eligible voters.

SEE ALSO: Top statewide races to watch that include Latino candidates

Here’s a look at four of the country’s competitive governor races where Latino voters make up a sizable share of eligible voters:

Florida

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (left) and Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott (right) faced off in a Spanish-language debate on NBCUniversal/Telemundo 51 on October 10, 2014 in Miramar, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The candidates: Republican Gov. Rick Scott is seeking to get re-elected for a second term. He faces former Gov. Charlie Crist, who has gone from being a Republican to an independent and now a Democrat. 

The issues: Scott touts how he has helped improve Florida’s economy ever since he became governor in 2010. He points to job creation, tax cuts and reduction in state debt that has occurred over the last four years.

Crist describes himself as “the people’s governor” and says he wants to reform government “to put the people first.” Among the policy changes he has in mind are tax cuts for middle class families, investing in infrastructure and making college more affordable.

The Latino vote: Latino voters make up 17 percent of eligible voters in the state. That’s the highest share of any state with a competitive gubernatorial race.

What the polls say: The latest poll shows Scott holds a one point lead over Crist. According to the poll, 46 percent of voters support Scott and 45 percent back Crist.

Colorado

 John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is facing Republican challenger Bob Beauprez in the race for governor in Colorado. (Photo credit: Hickenlooper’s campaign)/(Photo credit: Beauprez’s campaign)

The candidates: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is looking to hold onto his seat against Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, who previously served in Congress.

The issues: Hickenlooper says that as governor, he has helped reduce the state’s unemployment rate, balance the state budget and create new jobs. Once considered one of the nation’s most popular governors, Hickenlooper now faces criticism for supporting tough gun laws and fracking.

Beauprez’s campaign platform includes repealing restricting gun laws approved by Hickenlooper, allowing capital punishment on a case-by-case basis and rolling back regulations for the state’s farmers and ranchers. He also supports school choice and giving teachers more flexibility to teach.

The Latino vote: Latinos make up 14.2 percent of eligible voters in Colorado.

What the polls say: The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Beauprez leading by five points but several other recent polls show Hickenlooper is leading, which indicates the race is too close to call.

Connecticut

Dan Malloy, Tom Foley

Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy (left) is locked in a neck-and-neck contest against Republican challenger Tom Foley. (Photo credit: Malloy’s campaign)/(Photo credit: Foley’s campaign)

The candidates: In this blue state, Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy has an advantage. But Republican challenger Tom Foley is surely putting up a fight.

The issues: Malloy is praised for his handling of several state crises, including the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings and Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. But he is also criticized for his handling of the state budget, taxes and the economy.

Foley spent 30 years as a business owner and was once a U.S. ambassador to Ireland. If elected governor, he says he wants to reform the state’s tax code, freeze spending for two years, increase the number of high-paying jobs and introduce an A-F system for grading schools.

The Latino vote: Latinos make up 10.3 percent of eligible voters in Connecticut.

What the polls say: The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds the race between the two candidates remains too close to call. The poll shows Foley leading Malloy by one point, 46 percent to 45 percent.

Illinois

Pat Quinn, Bruce Rauner

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn (left) and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner meet for a third debate before the Nov. 4 election Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The candidates: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is in a tight race against Republican Bruce Rauner, a multi-millionaire venture capitalist who has no prior political experience.

The issues: As governor, Quinn signed a bill that gave families millions in tax relief and supported a loan program for first-time homebuyers. If re-elected, Quinn says he’ll continue pushing to raise Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 to at least $10.00 and fighting for at least two earned sick days for workers.

Rauner describes himself as a “self-made businessman” who has reinvested much of his success into the community, especially in education. Among his priorities are lowering the cost of doing business in Illinois, creating more jobs, controlling government spending and expanding school choice for families.

The Latino vote: Latinos make up 9.5 percent of eligible voters in Illinois.

What the polls say: Past polls showed Rauner was leading by a small margin. But the latest New York Times/CBS News/YouGov poll shows Quinn now leading Rauner by four points, 45 percent to 41 percent.

SEE ALSO: Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants: Is Oregon next?