DENVER (CBS4) – The 25th annual Cinco de Mayo festival took place in downtown Denver over the weekend and the Republican Party used the festival to target Hispanic voters.

Yvette Alba is exactly the sort of voter the Republicans were looking for at the celebration. She’s a Hispanic who voted for Barack Obama four years ago, but is now considering Mitt Romney.

“He’s got the business experience for sure. On other issues he seems to go back and forth quite a bit depending on what the popular vote is at the time, so that kind of concerns me; whereas Obama kind of stays solid on the issues,” Alba said. “It will come down to the end before I decide.”

Independent Hispanic voters turned out in large numbers for Obama in 2004, but if Romney can get just a fraction of those votes, it could help him to victory in Colorado.

Pollster Floyd Ciruli has been analyzing Colorado politics for over 25 years and he sees the Republicans at a big disadvantage.

“The Romney campaign is playing catch-up in Colorado. They need to move at a high, visible level if they’re going to try to make a statement that they care about the Hispanic community,” Ciruli said.

That’s why the Republicans set up a booth at one of the largest Hispanic celebrations in the country.

PHOTO GALLERY: Cinco De Mayo 2012

State Rep. Robert Ramirez hopes Romney’s business background will help convince Hispanic voters to move into the Republican camp.

“The economy is important because right now the unemployment rate for Hispanics is five to six percent higher than the average unemployment for everyone else, and that’s terrible. That says, ‘We don’t care about you.’ And that’s where Obama has failed,” Ramirez said.

While immigration is still a sensitive topic in the presidential race, most Hispanic voters are more concerned about education and the economy.

“I’ve been unemployed for two years and I think it’s important they get the economy going again,” Alba said.

Republicans are hoping that their message on the economy will convince Hispanics like Alba to swing their vote in November to Romney.


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