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Can GOP tap fastest-growing demographic?

One of Florida Sen. Mel Martinez's (in photo) last acts before resigning his Senate post in August was voting among only nine Republicans for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, after giving a long floor speech defending her against GOP critics. The Cuban-American's departure "could leave no Hispanic Republicans in the Senate and three in the House — compared to 21 Democrats in Congress — and a sense that the national GOP is at a major crossroads with the nation's fastest-growing demographic group," noted an Associated Press analysis. Especially after some Republicans' harsh comments about illegal immigration, the party needs work on its outreach to Hispanics. "Republicans have to be able to get the Hispanic community to focus on issues where Republicans have the right solutions — and these are critical issues: the economy being No. 1," said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

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