First, a history lesson. In three of the last four non-presidential elections, Republicans actually nominated Latinos for statewide office: Ruben Barrales for controller in 1998, Gary Mendoza for insurance commissioner in 2002 and Maldonado for lieutenant governor in 2010. All three were attractive, articulate candidates with compelling personal stories.
But all three went down in flames, receiving an average of only 37.9% of the vote. And there is no indication in postelection analyses that they received any meaningfully higher share of the Latino vote than a white male GOP candidate would have gotten.
In fact, the last Republican Latino statewide officeholder was elected 142 years ago, when Romualdo Pacheco won the lieutenant governorship in 1871, then served several months as governor in 1875.