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Why Florida's Latino Republicans tilt toward Mitt Romney

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Romney is also supported by four of the state’s most prominent Latino politicians – all of them Cuban-American, the largest subgroup of Florida’s 1.5 million Hispanics. Former Sen. Mel Martinez is honorary co-chair of Romney’s National Hispanic Steering Committee, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and his brother, former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, are all committee co-chairs.

In addition, Romney announced Friday the endorsement of the Republican governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño. Puerto Ricans represent the second largest segment of Florida Latinos.

So why more enthusiasm for Romney than Gingrich or the other Republican candidates still in the race? In a word, it’s Romney’s career in the private sector, which appeals to entrepreneurial-minded Hispanics.

“I was for Herman Cain, then when he dropped out, I switched to Mitt Romney,” says Frank Diaz of Miami, who owns a public relations and marketing firm with his wife. “I am sympathetic to business owners.”

Mr. Diaz also sees Romney as more electable – or as he puts it, having more appeal to “mainstream voters” – than Gingrich. His wife, Susy Alvarez-Diaz, also supports Romney, citing his articulation of issues in global terms.

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