Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s record on issues affecting Latinos has become fodder for a fight between the national political parties over immigration.
O’Malley (D) was the subject of a BuzzFeed story published Sunday that said the governor, who is eyeing a 2016 White House bid, has “enacted what reads like an activist’s wish list” on issues affecting Latinos and immigrants.
Among other actions, the piece cited Maryland’s passage of the Dream Act, which extends in-state college tuition rates to undocumented immigrants, as well as a decision to make driver’s licenses available to the same population.
While O’Malley is lauded by Latino leaders, Buzzfeed also quotes Izzy Santa, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, accusing the governor of “Hispandering” — a term that brought a rebuke from a Democratic counterpart on Monday.
Pili Tobar, the director of Hispanic media for the Democratic National Committee, said Santa had used a “silly and offensive phrase that demeans issues important to Latinos.”
“Democrats have a strong record of continuing to fight for the Latino community — whether it’s Governor O’Malley overseeing the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate in the nation or passing a Maryland DREAM Act or President Obama and Democrats in Congress leading the charge for comprehensive immigration reform,” Tobar said in a statement.
The statement went on to knock Republicans for blocking “bipartisan immigration reform and measures to keep families together.”
O’Malley has said he cannot wait for Hillary Rodham Clinton to decide whether she is running before making preparations for a possible 2016 presidential bid. The Maryland governor was in Iowa over the weekend.