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The Republican Party of San Diego County yesterday announced the appointment of Francis Barraza as the party’s executive director. The move is widely seen as an acknowledgment of a need to more aggressively court voters the party has failed to reach in the past, particularly Latinos, who saw their share of the national vote rise from 6% to 10% between the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Latinos broke three to one in favor of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in November, and locally mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio didn’t fare particularly well in his attempt to reach out to the demographic. 137,000 Latino voters in the county currently identify as Democrats, compared with 59,000 registered as Republicans.

Barraza says she’s aware of the challenges facing her party, and told KPBS she’s ready to hit the ground running instead of limiting the party’s activities during a non-election year.

“Instead of dialing back, I really want to ramp up our efforts,” said Barraza. “Instead of focusing on one particular candidate and getting our candidates elected, we’re trying to bring more people into the party and create a good infrastructure for us to be able to use once election time comes.”

A graduate of UC Irvine and UC Davis School of Law, Barraza was promoted from her previous position as the local party’s finance director. She also worked in 2010 on Prop G, the initiative in Chula Vista that successfully implemented a ban on union-friendly project labor agreements, and did Latino outreach work on Meg Whitman’s failed gubernatorial campaign.

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