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Obama Wooing Texas Hispanics

By Shelley Kofler

Dallas – Thursday night, as Hillary Clinton was completing a rally among many Latinos in El Paso, some Hispanics backing Obama gathered at a favorite watering hole in Dallas. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on the importance of their support.

At Gilley's honky tonk in Dallas, several hundred Obama supporters celebrate the momentum as TV anchors declare their candidate the winner in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Colombia.

The crowd is largely African American and Anglo. But some influential Hispanics are also wearing Obama buttons.

Diana Sepeda is a registered nurse.

Sepeda: I really feel Hispanics are gearing towards Obama

Latinos could cast up to half the votes March 4th in Texas's Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton is in the midst of a campaign swing through the most heavily Hispanic parts of Texas where she has deep ties. Her campaign says recent polls show her capturing 60-percent of the state's Latino vote. Latinos helped her win the state of California.

Obama has hired a well-connected Hispanic to run his Texas campaign, and has announced endorsements from Hispanic political leaders like Dallas's state representatives Rafael Anchia and Roberto Alonzo. Alonzo believes an alliance with Obama sends a message of racial healing.

Alonzo: It shows Hispanic community can work with the black community.
I don't think it's right people say blacks and browns can't work together

Liz Pereira, an immigration attorney, says Obama's background offers hope in her community.

Pereira: He is the only one who is a first generation American, a son of an immigrant father and an American mother. He presents to us the American dream many Hispanics can relate to that. He presents to us what we can envision ourselves as being as newer Americans.

Obama endorsements from high profile political families like the Kennedy's-popular among Lations- didn't seem to sway voters in other states like California where Clinton won with Hispanic support.

Latinos at Gilley's believe Hispanics here are giving Obama a second look.