CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Abelardo and Lucy Gomez, like many of their generation who fled Cuba, have voted for every Republican presidential candidate for the past 40 years. Their son is another story.
Albert Gomez, 39, who works in the family business in South Florida, has a bobblehead doll of President Barack Obama perched on his desk. A self-described pacifist who campaigned against offshore oil drilling as a teenager, he has voted for a Republican presidential candidate just once.
“I’m very upset with my son,” said Lucy Gomez, 65, interviewed at her $2 million home in a gated Coral Gables neighborhood along a canal near Biscayne Bay. “He’s my son and he has a big heart. But Albert is a Democrat.”
Like Albert Gomez, the children of Cuban-American immigrants are increasingly likely to buck their parents’ Republican allegiance and vote for Democrats, according to polling data. This change helped President Barack Obama become the first Democrat in 68 years to win Florida twice and creates new hurdles for Republicans, who are searching for ways to win favor among Hispanic voters after losing four of the last six presidential contests.
Cuban-Americans account for just 3.3 percent of the 54 million Hispanics in the United States, Census data show. Yet two-thirds of the nation’s 1.8 million Cubans-Americans live in Florida, creating a powerful voice in what has been the largest electoral prize for more than a decade among states considered competitive by both political parties. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE)