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Rather than trying to defeat Democrat Jose Hernandez on the issues, California Republicans tried dirty tricks to hide Hernandez's status as an astronaut from voters. Law firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk sued to have the fact that Hernandez was an astronaut kept off the ballot as his occupation. Attorney Charles Bell is the general counsel to the California Republican Party. A superior court judge tossed the case out and Hernandez released a video, showing him working in space, titled "Jose Hernandez Is An Astronaut."
Howie Klein points out the importance of the story among Hispanic voters and suggests that this is another example of Republicans sabotaging themselves with Hispanic voters:
Innate right wing bigotry has spoiled Republican efforts to woo the large and rapidly growing Hispanic vote. Other than Cubans-- many from neo-fascist families that fled the revolution in their homeland and found American right-wing Republicans a natural fit-- Hispanic voters have overwhelmingly rejected the GOP. Even when Hispanic voters are smart enough to recognize that conservative Democrats like Obama are not their friends, they also recognize that Republicans are their enemies.
Politically, José Hernández may be the kind of standard, garden variety Democrat the DCCC embraces, but his personal story is immense and undeniable. The guy could be a major political star. Short version: he started out picking crops with his migrant laborer family and ended up as an astronaut. Hernández didn't even learn English until he was 12 but was soon recognized as a math and science genius and earned an engineering degree and helped develop the first full-field digital mammography imaging system while working at the Lawrence Livermore Labs. He later went to work for NASA in Houston at the Johnson Space Center and while in orbit in 2009, became the first person to use the Spanish language in space while tweeting. He later became NASA's congressional liaison and is now running for Congress against über-vulnerable freshman Jeff Denham in California's new 10th district (southern San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, and is split between Republican leaning Manteca and Democratic leaning Tracy. (Obama beat McCain in the new boundaries, 50-47%.) The GOP reaction comes natural to them-- denigrate Hernández.
The Republicans are too tone def to Latino aspirations to realize how badly they are alienating a community that has already buried them politically in California and will do the same thing nationally if they persist in making Hispanics their enemies.