Alamance County residents we spoke to
· Ricky Hurtado, 31, son of Salvadoran immigrants. Hurtado was born in Los Angeles but moved to Alamance County when he was 7, where his mother worked at a chicken plant. He is now running for public office.
· County Sheriff Terry Johnson, a Republican who first came to office in 2002. Johnson was the only sheriff in the country other than Arizona’s notorious Joe Arpaio to be sued by the Obama administration Department of Justice for civil rights violations against immigrants.
· Omar Lugo, 42, a Venezuelan immigrant. Lugo says he see evidence that Latinos in North Carolina are turning to the GOP in these turbulent times. Latinos are repelled by scenes of chaotic demonstrations and the debate over defunding police departments, he said.
· Aranza Sosa, 22. She began researching local politics after she was turned away by Johnson’s deputies over a Black Lives Matter protest. Her uncle died of COVID-19 in late May.
About the story: From reporter Nicholas Riccardi
When we set out last year to do a story on the Latino electorate, we thought about taking a different approach and looking for places where Latinos largely couldn’t vote. Nationally only half of Latinos can vote, well behind whites and African-Americans.
We zeroed in on Alamance County, North Carolina, where a young Latino named Ricky Hurtado was running for the statehouse. A team of AP reporters spent a week following Hurtado as he launched his campaign in early March.
Then the world fell apart. Coronavirus scrambled the news environment, followed by the economic crash, then the George Floyd protests. Through it all, we stayed in touch with the people we met in North Carolina, and the story became as much about the new challenges Latinos face in politics as well as past barriers.
Read the full story here.