According to Statemaster.com Texas currently ranks 2nd in the nation with the highest Hispanic population at a little over 8 million residents. IAL Services decided to conduct a website analysis similar to what we did in 2008 for the top presidential contenders to see what, if any, efforts were being made by the Texas gubernatorial candidates to court Hispanic voters by localizing their sites with Spanish content. The presidential analysis was picked up by RealClearPolitics and, as you might imagine, created a lot of buzz. While I had to delete most of the comments because of "inappropriate feedback" (I didn't realize so many people would be irate for simply asking the question!), I still thought it would be interesting to do it again and, since I'm working on several big projects back here in my home state, I was curious to see what kind of information was available. My curiosity isn't driven by any political agenda but simply because I'm in the language business and have had the opportunity to work on several national campaigns.
First, here's a rundown on what we were able to derive from each of the official campaign sites:
Rick Perry (R) (Incumbent)
So far, this is the only official campaign site that we have been able to find an active Spanish link although it is subtly placed at the bottom of the page and simply reads "En Espanol". This will take you to another page that contains 5 additional links with various information about campaign policies, involvement and participation.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R)
We were unable to find a localized Spanish link but we were also limited in our search since the "Search The Site" link was inactive. Her Senate web page, however, did have a prominent link located at the top of her page. At first we were unsure whether this was something that was included on all Senate profiles but when we went to her colleague's site(John Cornyn), no such link exists.
Debra Medina (R)
No active or visible link found.
IAL Services has reached out to all candidates to clarify the information we have and asked them to explain their strategy as to why, or why not, a decision was made regarding a bilingual link. As of this posting we have not received any response but will update accordingly if received.
A good friend and political strategist we know in Washington made one observation that may be worth noting. He says that generally, during a primary election season, a candidate may be more concerned about upsetting his / her base - particularly in a state like Texas where immigration issues are wedge issues - and, as a result, fore-go anything that might be considered inflammatory. He predicts, for those candidates who currently don't have a localized Spanish site and survive the primary, that will change. The numbers are simply too big to ignore.
We'll keep you posted!