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Doug Mastriano holds campaign event in Philadelphia courting Latino voters

Doug Mastriano makes campaign event in Philadelphia
Doug Mastriano makes campaign event in Philadelphia 02:06

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Both candidates for Pennsylvania governor are hoping to attract Latino votes in the upcoming election. Republican nominee Doug Mastriano held his first campaign event in Philadelphia on Friday with that in mind.

Latino voters CBS Philadelphia spoke to Friday, say they don't feel represented by the Democratic Party, and it's led them to support Republican nominees for this upcoming election.

"I think we've had enough," Marcela Diaz said. "We've had enough of Democrats asking for our vote without our leadership."

Fed up and wanting new solutions. 

That's how many Latino voters felt at Mastriano's Hispanic town hall event in North Philadelphia on Friday.

"We're tired of politicians telling us you're going to fix it and they want your vote," Mastriano said, "but they never come back."

According to PEW research, the majority of Latinos either identify with or lean Democrat while 33% identify or lean Republican. 

Friday's event focused on increasing that percentage, but it also highlighted Mastriano's policies for local businesses, especially after the pandemic.

"It made no sense to me that small business owners were treated with prejudice because their businesses weren't big and wealthy," Mastriano said.

Doug Mastriano holds 1st public campaign event in Philadelphia 01:34

For voters like Nathaniel Apunto Mercado, having access to resources for his local business is one of his top priorities from a candidate. 

"To help low-income individuals get access to capital," he said, "so they can become entrepreneurs and start their own business."

From entrepreneurship to women's rights, politicians on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro criticized Mastriano because of his past comments on banning abortions.

"He said his top priority is taking away a woman's right to choose," Democratic state Sen. Sharif Street said.

But others say Mastriano's opinion on abortion aligns with some conservative Latino values. 

"They're more family-oriented -- Latinos -- than mainstream," Ferando Arturo Suarez said, "so I think it appeals."

"He don't respect Black and Brown people. He doesn't respect Latino people. I know this," One PA field manager Howard Fisher said. "I'm from this neighborhood. I know this for a fact because if he respected them, he would've come here first."

But not all Hispanic voters agree.

Diaz, a Columbian native living outside of Harrisburg, says Democratic candidates haven't done enough to tackle crime.

"Shapiro has done absolutely nothing for the City of Philadelphia," Diaz said. "It's one of the most dangerous cities in the country."

Democratic politicians argue Shapiro has curbed the city's violence while Mastriano claims it's not enough.

"People in this community, their families are being killed by drugs and murderers and are being carjacked," Mastriano said. "Over 1,000 carjackings in Philadelphia. I mean, this is insane. This is more dangerous than when I was in Kabul, Afghanistan." 

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