DES MOINES, Iowa — How to pronounce Beto O’Rourke’s first name — “Is it BET-oh or BAY-toe?” — is debated nearly everywhere the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful goes in Iowa. But Rich Salas doesn’t hesitate. “BET-oh,” the chief diversity officer at Des Moines University says correctly while introducing O’Rourke at a recent gathering of an Asian and Latino political action committee. “What a really great name.” Salas notes that O’Rourke “speaks really good Spanish, better than I do,” before leading chants of “Viva Beto!” It’s a rallying cry that may not resonate in Iowa, home to the nation’s first presidential nominating contest, but could pay dividends faster than in previous years thanks to a primary calendar that will see the two states with the largest Hispanic populations go to the polls earlier than usual. Hispanics make up just 6% of the population in Iowa, which holds caucuses Feb. 3, and barely half that percentage in New Hampshire, which goes next. But then comes Nevada, where almost 30% of people are Hispanic. And, just 10 days later this cycle, California and Texas — home to 13-plus million eligible Hispanic voters, nearly half of all such voters nationwide, according to the Pew… Read full this story
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