By distinguishing himself from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and DFL challenger Mike Hatch on key immigration issues, Independent gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson garnered the endorsement of La Prensa De Minnesota, the largest and the most influential Latino newspaper in the state.
“Peter Hutchinson would make the best governor out of all the candidates. He deserves the support [of] Latino voters and our support.” the paper said in its endorsement statement, which’s the first one for Hutchinson.
Latinos generally vote DFL, according to experts, and they seem to have given up on Hatch for his support for a Pawlenty proposal that would allow local police to enforce federal immigration laws—a move now banned in Minneapolis and St. Paul under city ordinances.
The newspaper said Hatch is the only candidate out of four (including Ken Pentel of the Green Party) who completely ignored repeated requests to respond to endorsement questionnaire sent to him.
“If Hatch is ignoring our issues in the Latino community we should ignore him in the ballot box,” said La Prensa in a strongly worded statement.
Pawlenty “politely declined” to answer the questionnaire, said the paper, while Pentel wasn’t “able to answer the survey.”
In addition to the immigration concern, the paper evaluated candidates on what they thought of having visa expiration dates on immigrants’ driver’s licenses and the Dream Act, a plan that would create an affordable education for children of immigrants.
In an MPR interview last week, Hatch said he didn’t know much about the program.
“If he doesn’t know what the Dream Act is by now, he will never know.” said the paper.
Hutchinson, a former Minneapolis Schools Superintendent, said he supports the Dream Act.
“Peter Hutchinson believes that Pawlenty uses immigration as a wedge issue to scare and divide us. He opposes expiration dates in driver’s licenses, and opposes using law enforcement officers as immigration agents,” said the paper “He supports the Dream Act.”
Immigrant groups, including Latinos, were disappointed by Hatch’s near indifference with Pawlenty on immigration issues. Sources tell MinMo that other immigrant groups are planning to follow the Latino community in supporting Hutchinson.
The news was a music for Hutchinson, who’s lagging a distant third in most polls.
“I am honored to receive the support of this important part of our community,” he said in a statement today.