Rodriguez on Whitman Endorsement: "I hope my mom forgives me." - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Rodriguez on Whitman Endorsement: "I hope my mom forgives me."

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By Norma Yuriar

Fresno, Calif.  (KMPH News) – Comedian and water activist Paul Rodriguez tells KMPH News Meg Whitman has earned his support in the race for California governor.

His decision contradicts what a new survey says about Latino voters.

A Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California poll shows democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown leading Whitman among Latinos by 19 points.

Fresno democrat Alice Kisling says she's voted across party lines in the past, but not this time.

"Jerry Brown, I think he's got a proven track record so that's why I will be voting for him come November," Kisling said.

Kisling reflects the opinion of a group of registered Latino voters that took part in the L.A. Times/USC poll; 51% supported Brown and 32% Whitman.

"She may be able to run a corporation like E–Bay but she hasn't proven to me that she has the political knowledge or ability to go across party lines and reach across the other side and make it work for California," Kisling said.

Rodriguez is using his strong ties to the valley and Latino community to sway voters, including his own mother.

"I hope my mom and my family forgives me but, I think that one day when we are all working, God willing, I'll be glad to say you're welcome," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez says Whitman is not the perfect candidate, but the right one for job creation.

"We are voting for who's going to put mom and pop to work, who's going to secure your kids going to college – who's going to secure that you have a better shot at the American dream?  Right now it's Meg, tomorrow it might be a democrat and I'll vote that way if that's the way it is."

Rodriguez says as soon as he can get water to his mom's farm in Orange Cove he'll go back to telling jokes.

Rodriguez is the Chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition, a group that has advocated for the $11.1 billion water bond on the November ballot, a peripheral canal and other projects that could help maintain water shipments to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley.

"The only candidate that put it down on paper that's she's for the peripheral canal is Meg," Rodriguez said, "and water equals jobs."

"I think it's great, if Paul Rodriguez wants to endorse her that's good for him, but that's not going to sway me in any way, shape or form," added Kisling.

Kenneth Hansen an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fresno State University says Whitman may be facing a dilemma.

"I think she'd like to get Latino votes but she's got a real problem, because in mid–term elections the turn–out tends to be more republican, it tends to be older and it tends to be whiter and so if that's going to be her base, then she doesn't want to alienate her base, so she has a fine line to walk," Hansen said.

Whitman and Brown will go head to head Saturday, October 2nd at Fresno State University.  The televised debate will be broadcast in Spanish and English.

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