Pataki Joins A Growing List Of Spanish-Speaking GOP Candidates [VIDEO]

Heather Hunter Contributor
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During former New York Gov. George Pataki’s announcement to run for president on Thursday, he slipped in a few words of “thanks” to his supporters in Spanish.

Pataki carries with him a record of winning over at least a third of the Hispanic vote as a Republican in a staunchly Democratic state during his 2002 re-election bid.

The self-taught bilingual former governor joins a field of GOP candidates with varying levels of Spanish-language fluency aimed at courting the growing Hispanic vote:

  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has publicly displayed his fluent Spanish-speaking in speeches, events and television interviews.  His Mexican-born wife Columba Bush learned English as her second language. Fox News reports that Bush “has the most robust Hispanic voter outreach operation. He personally delivers messages to Latino voters in fluent Spanish. He recently hired Jose Mallea as his campaign manager for Hispanic outreach.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose father was born in Cuba, told Telemundo that he “grew up speaking Spanish at home, but what we spoke at home was ”Spanglish.’ When “Bloomberg Politics” co-host Mark Halperin performed a cringe-worthy interview last month quizzing him on his Cuban roots, the senator rejected being ordered to speak in “espanol.”
  • Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, is fluent in Italian, and understands Spanish and German, according to Forbes.
  • Former Texas Governor Rick Perry isn’t fluent but speaks and understands some Spanish, WSJ reports.
  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, grew up bilingual in Miami, Florida.
    Running mate rumors over the past few weeks have spread about rising Democratic star former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro as being Hillary Clinton’s possible number two to lock in the Hispanic vote but according to political strategist Rick Wilson: “For all the gushing about Julian Castro, so few of the press actually cover that he doesn’t speak Spanish.”