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Latinos a Factor in President Obama Carrying Colorado

Kirk Siegler

Exit polling in Colorado and other western states indicates that President Obama handily won the Latino vote in Tuesday’s election. 

Colorado Democrats held their Election Night party in the same ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel as they did in 2008, and while the party was a bit smaller this time around, it seemed equally boisterous as results started streaming in showing the President with leads in some of Colorado’s most important counties.

"When people look across the West and they see the new Colorado, and they see the new Democratic Party, they see the future of our country right here in Colorado, and you are that future," said Federico Pena, the former Denver mayor and national co-chair of Mr. Obama's re-election effort. 

Pena said the pundits were wrong and the energy was there for Democrats in the end; especially in states like Colorado where the demographics are fast changing.

Latinos flexed their political muscle in 2008 in Colorado, and in 2012 they were predicted to make up about 20% of the state's total electorate.

Some Democrats worried they couldn’t be counted on this year due to the national impasse on immigration. 

Both campaigns actively targeted the voting block in Colorado this year as a result, especially in suburban swing districts like Jefferson County, where Suleyka Bolanos lives:  "I’m not only a woman, but I’m also Latina and so I’m very glad that my vote counted out there and that the Latino vote was able to push that forward for winning Colorado."

Just how big of a role Latinos played in Mr. Obama’s win in this state last night should become clearer later this morning when Latino voting groups release official national and local polling data.  

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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