Column: Rick Caruso’s Latino appeal isn’t bought — it’s real. But is it enough to win?
Aspiring Latino politicians have long since figured out what goes on in their heads and what they don’t want to tell people.
Caruso, the Democrat who will hold a seat on the Richmond City Council, is one of them.
He hasn’t had his turn, but he is taking it.
His Latino background, his parents of Puerto Rican descent, his business ties — all these things will help Caruso in a city where an unusual number of Latinos are elected, in part because they are in the minority.
So far so good with voters.
Caruso’s campaign has been one of the most surprising of 2014, winning an easy primary over a Republican in a race where the turnout was low among both Democrats and Republicans.
One of his most important assets, though, is that he’s not trying to be someone he’s not.
A man with a Latino background, he also is one who’s an easy and likable candidate.
“He’s very well-spoken, very polite, very humble,” said Tom Matuzak, chair of the Virginia League of Young Democrats.
He’s not the kind of candidate who would try to run up front, in the way that a Latino politician might, and not get to where he’d actually go — to the business and political establishment.
That’s how he gets himself seen by Richmond’s establishment, which is more or less what you’d expect.
He’s not a politician — that’s a good thing — but he is a politician.
“I think that’s been a strength of his campaign. He’s not trying to out-do anybody,” said Patrick Jones, a former chairman of the Richmond City Council.
That’s why he can compete in a highly competitive campaign, no way a sure thing, and why Caruso will be easy to beat.
The Latino community in