What do you get when you mix a huge Latino electorate and a joke offensive to Latinos?

Texas Governor Rick Perry is going to find out the answer to that one after pointing out at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials how Jose Cuevas, his pick to head the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, has a name that evokes a certain brand of tequila.

Cue crickets.

Speculation about Perry, a Republican, considering a presidential run has been rampant, and politicial observers saw his speech at the convention as a chance to burnish his reputation with Latino voters. But he got a tepid reception as he touted his accomplishments in appointing Latinos to government posts (including those whose names don't resemble types of alcohol) while failing to mention the harsh immigration enforcement measures he has backed.

Capturing the Latino vote could prove pivotal in the 2012 presidential race. A new study by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund predicts a record turnout of 12.2 million Latino voters, a 26% increase over 2008. Rapid growth in the country's Latino population, particularly in Southwestern states, is reshaping electoral maps and campaign strategy.

President Barack Obama drew substantial support from Latino voters in 2008, but his doubling down on tough enforcement measures, combined with his perceived inaction on an immigration overhaul sought by immigrant advocates, has provoked criticism.