Shortly before going on an extended hiatus, MyDD had this post noting that Joe Lieberman is running well ahead of the pack among Latino Democrats. This got dismissed as a "laggard indicator still favoring Lieberman's high name ID," and besides, Latinos supposedly don't vote in proportionate numbers in the primaries.Of course, the primaries are notoriously tilted toward states with small to nonexistent Latino populations (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina), so it isn't surprising that there has not been high turnout to vote in, say, that all important California primary. The real problem is the casual dismissal of Lieberman's early strength as merely an artifact of name recognition. Check out Joe Lieberman's list of endorsements. The first two names on the list of state elected officials are Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante of California and Attorney General Ken Salazar of Colorado. Plus, the list of Arizona endorsements is like a who's who of Latinos in the Arizona Legislature. What's really going on is a quiet campaign by Lieberman, who made sure not to miss the National Association of Latino Elected Officials convention in Phoenix earlier this year, to lock up support from Latino leaders in the southwest. Lieberman has been spending a lot of time in Arizona, taking the opportunity to act like a real Democrat by publicly opposing nutcase proposals for dealing with immigration.Does this mean Lieberman has Latino votes in the bag when, say, the Arizona primary rolls around next year? No, I've always thought the power of Latino political leader endorsements is overrated; it's not a matter of leaders endorsing a candidate and then "delivering" the community at the polls. But it does show that Lieberman is making a strong early effort. Other candidates, including MyDD's favorite Howard Dean, need to recognize that they are playing catch-up to Lieberman, at least among southwestern Chicanos and Latinos, and not imagine that they are looking at a group of voters who simply haven't started paying attention to the election yet.