President Ronald Reagan often is remembered for his ability to attract disaffected Democrats—the “Reagan Democrats”—to vote Republican. Yet, long before his first Presidential victory in 1980, Reagan garnered their votes in the 1966 California gubernatorial election. In beating Republican primary opponent, former San Francisco Mayor George Christopher, as well as his general election opponent, incumbent Democrat Governor Pat Brown, he drew heavily from the ranks of disaffected Democrats. Perhaps more surprising, Reagan polled well among Mexican Americans, who were traditionally Democrats. Indeed Reagan would win by almost a million–vote margin, and this was accomplished in no small way by the help of Mexican American voters.

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