Surprising comments from Van de Putte. Maybe some of that explains why she resisted entreaties to run statewide?
[The poll] shows more than half of Texas Hispanics call themselves conservative, and a surprising 23 percent say they might participate in Tuesday's GOP primary. Among those, Perry leads Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by 2 to 1, according to the poll, commissioned by an Austin consultant for a national group of Hispanic legislative leaders.
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said the poll hints at a little-noticed facet of Perry's political persona: He doesn't frighten Hispanics because he often visits their communities, and he distances himself from immigration hard-liners in the GOP.
"He thought the border wall was a little ridiculous and didn't think it was going to help," said Van de Putte, Democrats' leader in the Senate and a co-chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention in Denver two years ago. "What he wanted to keep out were those people that are smuggling drugs and people."
Van de Putte said Perry tilts more to the right than his predecessor, George W. Bush, and can't match Bush's high level of support among Hispanics. But she said many Hispanics remember that Perry signed a 2001 bill that let illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition at public colleges. He has defended the bill, saying affected students have studied hard in Texas schools and will be good citizens.
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