He's no fan of illegal immigration, saying that uncontrolled immigration is a health hazard, among other things.
"I will not eat at a Mexican restaurant, because that's where newly arrived people go to work," he said.
Still, Munoz has mixed feelings about Alabama's immigration law, largely because it expands the use of E-Verify, a federal system for determining the citizenship status of job applicants.
"Sometimes people throw the baby out with the bath water," he said. "Parts of the law are good, but E-Verify is a huge federal bureaucracy."
Munoz, 45, works as a software engineer in Birmingham. He was 5 years old when his family first left Chile, during the presidency of Salvador Allende. He's an Air Force and Army veteran and a board member for a local Tea Party group.
But like many Ron Paul supporters, he's critical of overseas military intervention, the ban on medical marijuana and anything else that smacks of big government.
Munoz said the military torture scandals of the last decade are enough to turn off a lot of Latino voters.
"A lot of them come from countries where this stuff happens," he said. "When they see the United States acting like a bully, they don't like it."
Munoz believes the Ron Paul approach is the future of the party. At rallies for the candidate, he said, he was usually the oldest person in the room.
"You've got to look to the young people," he said. "That's where the future is."
Munoz worked in statewide campaigns for the GOP this year, but he said he didn't get involved in the Romney effort. Asked whether he voted for Romney in the general election, he didn't offer a clear answer.
"The ballot in this country is secret," he said.
Young and innocent
Munoz is one of just three people with seemingly Hispanic surnames who ran for seats in Alabama's GOP convention delegation this year. All three ran as Ron Paul delegates.
Caballero, the Northport doctor, was another of those names. He's quick to point out that he disagrees with Ron Paul on some issues. But he sees some contradictions in the traditional Republican rhetoric.
"It's very hard to explain why we were in Iraq," he said. "We put two wars on a credit card."
Caballero said small-government conservatism appeals to immigrants who've lived in Communist regimes. He has little patience for people who circumvent the legal immigration process, saying he's not opposed to militarizing the border if that's what it takes.
But he says the Republicans spoiled the issue for themselves when they came down against efforts to give young immigrants -- people brought here as children -- a path to citizenship.
"We have to understand that people who come here from a young age are innocent," he said.
Even if Ron Paul is the magnet to attract more Latinos to the party, Republican leaders may not be willing or able to embrace him.
Paul garnered only 5 percent of the vote in the 2012 Alabama primary. Rick Santorum, a social conservative who appealed largely to evangelicals, won the race with 35 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich, who became House speaker after a 1994 Republican sweep decided largely by white male voters, came in second with 29 percent of the vote. And Mitt Romney, establishment favorite and eventual nominee, came in a close third, but with a 24-point lead over Paul.
"Alabama Republicans have had pretty good success, at the state level, with their current approach," said Stewart, the political scientist." "I don't expect they'll change it much."
Adding to Republicans' challenges is the fact that the party exerts only partial control over the messages its members send.
In the 2010 election, Alabama's anti-immigrant sentiment went viral. In campaign ads, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James ran an ad in which he said "This is Alabama, we speak English." Agriculture commissioner candidate Dale Peterson appeared on screen toting a gun and saying that "illegals bust in by the thousands."
Neither man won the party's nomination, but their ads still live on YouTube.
Armistead acknowledged that there's only so much the party leadership can do about the message that emerges in 2014.
"We don't get involved in the primaries," he said.
It's a problem that affects both parties. When Pelham lawyer Harry Lyon emerged this spring as the only candidate to qualify for the Democratic nominee for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, party leaders were powerless to stop him from running -- even though he'd once said the state should execute illegal immigrants, among other controversial comments.
But after Lyon won the nomination, party leaders disqualified him.
"If a person is acting like a bigot, we can rule them out," Davidson said. "We've done it in the recent past."
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