Roll Call reported yesterday that Senate Democrats might bring up the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte to be ambassador to El Salvador again, as early as this week.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Carmen Aponte to the post in El Salvador, but Senate Republicans have blocked her confirmation. When the Senate failed to confirm her in 2010, President Obama used a recess appointment that allowed her to serve until December 2011. Senate Democrats brought her nomination up for a vote in December, but failed to get the votes necessary to override the Republican filibuster.
According to the Washington Post, the difference this time may be Florida Republican Marco Rubio. They report that Senator Rubio voted against the nomination during the last vote, but later changed his mind and promised to get other republicans on board. He never did, however, and her nomination has been stalled ever since. This time around, Senator Rubio says he will support her nomination but is not going to whip other Republicans to support her.
The Washington Post article hints at the politics behind the nomination and the timing of the vote. Florida is a key state in President Obama’s plan for reelection, and mobilizing the Latino vote is a must. He is planning to be in Orlando next week and would like to be able to “tout the success of a Puerto-Rican-born ambassador, or blast the Republicans for blocking one.”
On a side note, a Huffington Post article posted last night argues that the Latino vote is a “sleeping giant” that may cause trouble for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. They report that in 8 states there are an estimated 21.5 million Latinos who are eligible to vote in November. If those voters or any portion of them registered and voted in the Presidential elections, they could have a tremendous impact on the outcome. The article reports that the 21.5 million potential voters are more than Obama’s margin of Victory in 2008. Since mid-April, the Obama campaign has spent $1.7 million on ads in Spanish in Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, while the Romney campaign has spent only $13,000. The article points out that while the Latino population is Democratic leaning, they should not be taken for granted. It’s not that President Obama and the Democrats have a great record on immigration and other issues important to Latino voters, but its not tough to have a better record than the tough-talking, Arizona-supporting Republicans.
We’ve written several articles about Ambassador Carmen Aponte. For more information about this long, drawn out drama, click here, (Senate Holding up Nomination) here, (Recess Appointment) here, (Re-nomination) and here (Senate filibustered nomination).