DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The front runner for the Democratic presidential candidacy made a stop in South Florida on Friday afternoon.
Hillary Clinton hosted a grass roots event to a crowd of students and supporters at Broward College’s Hugh Adams Central Campus in Davie.
Clinton kicked things off with her ideas for strengthening Florida families, including raising the minimum wage. She also spoke at length about the need to increase green energy and continuing the fight for women’s rights.
“I will defend a woman’s right to choose and I will fight against defunding planned parenthood,” she said to a crowd of cheers. “And I will defend and fight for marriage equality and against discrimination.”
However, her campaign’s new major is specifically targeting the Latin vote with her “Latinos for Hillary” initiative.
“We’re just trying to share her views, get as many votes as possible, trying to get as much voter turn-out as possible,” said campaign volunteer Matt Hersch.
Charles Zelden, a political scientist at Nova Southeastern University, said getting out the vote is going to be crucial – especially the Hispanic vote.
“For any Democrat, the Latino vote is essential. In the general election, they can’t win without the Latino vote,” said Zelden.
Zelden also added that even though South Florida is the home turf for Republican rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, home field advantage may not be so strong in the Hispanic community despite their deep roots with Latin voters.
“Because of the immigration issues, because of the Republicans general disdain through this primary season toward immigrants and the children of immigrants, it’s hard to walk that back,” said Zelden.
Zelden believes even if Hispanic voters reject the Republicans, Clinton and her fellow Democrats still have a lot of work ahead of them.
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for the Democrats, they could just vote with their feet by not voting,” said Zelden.
In light of the recent mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, Clinton tried to distance herself from her GOP opponents, adding that people need to do more than pray – but take action.
“What is wrong with us that we can’t stand up to the NRA, the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers?” Clinton asked.
Friday afternoon, Bush responded to the tragedy with a shrug and said “stuff happens” during a discussion on gun violence.
In November, Clinton will hold campaign events in San Antonio and Las Vegas where she’ll continue the focus on Hispanic voters. Her campaign will also use the first Democratic Presidential Debate in Nevada to organize house parties geared at garnering support among Hispanics.
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