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Monday, March 5, 2012 - 7:18pm

Do Minority Voters Matter In the Primary?

On Super Tuesday, Georgia Republicans will be voting for their nominee in the presidential preference primary.

In 2008, 94 percent of Georgians who voted in the 2008 Republican primary identified themselves as white or Caucasian. Statistics like those are the reason experts say candidates don’t invest much energy courting minority voters until the general election. 

Focusing the primary race on broader national issues like energy and the economy that speak to all Americans is a better strategy than targeting specific voting groups according to Kyle Kondik, a political analyst for the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

“I can’t blame Republican Candidates for not really reaching out to minority voters because there aren’t that many minority voters in the Republican primary process,” says Kondik.

Exit polls from the Republican primary races this year show on average more than 90% of voters are white. Kondik says when every dollar counts, candidates typically focus their resources on where they can get more bang for their buck.

Michael McNeely, the chairman of the Georgia Black Republican Council agrees.

“Practically speaking that makes sense, however, you should never discount a group of people.”

McNeely says the only way Republican candidates will attract more minority voters, is to share the conservative message in a way that is relatable.

“You’re not going to build a relationship simply waiting until around election time going out and shaking a few hands going to a few events. It’s got to be a regular occurrence,”says McNeely.

The Georgia Black Republican Council has yet to be courted by any of the presidential hopefuls, one demographic of minorities has been getting significant attention, Latino voters.

In 2008 President Obama won two-thirds of Hispanic voters in the 2008 election. If that happens again, Republicans will have a hard time winning the White House Kondik says.

So while the Hispanic vote has come up in states like Florida and Arizona with large Latino populations, Kondick says come the general election minority voters of all backgrounds will receive considerably more attention than they have this primary season.