<!--:es-->McCain’s VP: Two new names emerge, and they’re both Latino – Mel Martinez and Bonnie Garcia<!--:-->

McCain’s VP: Two new names emerge, and they’re both Latino – Mel Martinez and Bonnie Garcia

By Eric Dondero

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has dropped in the Veepstakes within the conservative Blogosphere these past two weeks as the best positioned for John McCain’s VP. There’s questions being raised too about Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Some see him as too “fresh” in the Governorship.

Other names being bandied about include: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, former Congressman JC Watts also from OK, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. But lately another name has emerged…

US Senator Mel

Martinez of Florida

With Obama now poised to be the Democrat nominee, the GOP has an opening for the huge Hispanic vote in the Fall. Even Dems and liberal media sources are highlighting Obama’s “Latino problem.” Race relations between Hispanics and Blacks have been rather dicey the last few years, particularly in areas such as southern California and even Chicago. Returns from heavily Hispanic Texas this Tuesday will show how big that problem could be for Obama.

The argument goes: Martinez secures Florida. He’s also a trusted moderate to conservtive, Pro-Life, Cuban-born Catholic.

There are a couple glitches. One – He’s lost some popularity over his positioning on immigration last year during the whole furor. Two – There’s some questions about whether or not he was actually born in Miami or Havana. Martinez can’t find the birth certificates to prove his native Americanism.

California Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia

Another name has popped up on the Latino or rather Latina front: California Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia. Ms. Garcia is term-limted out this year, after having served 8 years. She represents extreme southern California (Palm Springs suburbs, Indio, El Centro and Calexico, right on the border). Ironically, she is not a Mexican-American but rather a Puerto Rican originally from New York. The argument goes with Garcia, McCain gets a twofer – an in with California Hispanic voters, and with the large Puerto Rican community in New York. Assemblywoman Garcia has served as a loyal “Arnold Scwarzenegger-style” moderate to conservative Republican. She too is Pro-Life, a strong Fiscal Conservative, and a staunch supporter of the Military. (Her District near San Diego has a strong Military base presence). And Garcia has managed to win reelection despite massive Democrat efforts to unseat her in the overwhelmingly ‘D’ District for years.

Her status as a California Assemblywoman may raise some eyebrows, but this is California, the largest State in the Union. Plus, of note, she is currently the highest ranking Latina Republican serving in any public office in the Nation.

With Obama now the presumptive Democrat nominee, it makes sense for the GOP to make a big push for the Hispanic vote. Either Martinez or Garcia would fit the bill.