Meanwhile, The (John) Kerry campaign and its allies have stepped up their Latino outreach, an effort that is expected to be a major factor in the outcome in New Mexico. The New Democrat Network has been running Spanish-language ads in four states, including New Mexico, since last December; at the end of May, the Kerry campaign added a spot of its own featuring Hispanic veterans, its first Spanish-language ad since the primaries. The president, meanwhile, has attacked Kerry on taxes and education in its most recent Spanish ads. With the Bush camp working to preserve the 35 percent share of the nationwide Latino vote that it won in the 2000 election -- and Kerry hoping to knock that below 30 percent -- these media campaigns are expected to have a significant impact on a state Gore won by just 365 votes.

Maria Cardona is Project director at the Washington based New Democrat Network, and one of the leading analysts on Latino politics. The Kerry campaign has been criticized by some members in the Black and Brown communities for not having enough people of color in his organization.....WMNF asked Cardona if she thinks that criticism has been justified (roll tape#1 o.q. "within the Hispanic community")

That's Maria Cardona from the New Democrat Network, speaking to us about the importance of the Latino vote in this year's elections.

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