Anna Cruz: Representing A Target Demographic

DNC '08 Florida Delegate Anna Cruz.
Bobbie O'Brien for NPR

Delegate: Anna Cruz, 35

Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

Occupation: Political affairs consultant

Why We're Watching: The Hispanic-American is part of a demographic key to carrying Florida in the fall.

Anna Cruz is a self-described "Floridian first and foremost, a Hispanic and an avid Hillary Clinton supporter."

She's the principal with the political consulting firm Leaders Edge LLC. She'll work with nonpartisan candidates, corporations and Democrats — but no Republicans.

The Tampa native is part of a demographic that she believes any presidential candidate must win over in order to carry Florida. Cruz is Mexican and Puerto Rican on her father's side, Spanish and Italian on her mother's side and a fourth-generation Floridian.

The Cruz family has always been politically active. Her grandfather, a military veteran from Puerto Rico, used to mail $10 donations to the Democratic National Committee, she says.

Cruz herself spearheaded Hillary Clinton's Florida campaign. She also has worked for Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sen. Bill Nelson, and served two years as executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.

"Post-Bill Clinton, it was tough being a Democrat," Cruz says. "I got beat up all day long." Cruz says it made her tougher.

Cruz will attend the Democratic National Convention as a delegate pledged to Hillary Clinton.

"If given the opportunity — and it's kind of perfunctory — I'd like to cast my vote for Hillary," Cruz says. "But I would never do so trying to cause any problems, or if that's going to ignite any sort of divisiveness on the floor. We don't want that."

She says Florida delegates are committed to delivering the biggest swing state to Barack Obama.

Her one hope for the convention: "I fully expect folks to sing 'Kumbaya' and be there in a unified manner and come out of there focused more than ever on the November election and beating John McCain.

As to the controversy over Florida's early primary, Cruz says Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's threat to not seat Florida delegates was akin to giving a jaywalker the death penalty.

Bobbie O'Brien reports from member station WUSF in Tampa, Fla.

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