April 12, 2024

Liberal nonprofit SOMOS and its PAC are dropping $57 million in 8 states to turn out Latino voters for Biden and Democrats

As President Joe Biden tries to reverse early low support from Hispanics in the polls, a liberal nonprofit and its political action committee have announced plans to spend $57 million to turn out Latino voters.

Somos Votantes, the Latino advocacy group that operates Somos PAC, gave NBC News an early look at its 2024 plans to expand Hispanic voter education and participation and — on the political side — try to help Democrats attract Latino votes to win the presidential elections, the Senate and the House of Representatives. breeds.

Of the $57 million, $33 million will go toward mobilizing Latino voters in support of Biden, as well as Democratic House and Senate candidates in eight states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin – mainly through the door. -knock campaigns, bilingual paid communications and ‘robust’ community organizing, according to the campaign plan. The nonprofit will spend an additional $24 million to expand nonpartisan voter education programs, including registration assistance, voting and election information.

“Latinos are the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate with more than 4 million new voters since the last presidential election, so we want to make sure we reach them in every way possible,” said Melissa Morales, president of Somos Votantes. .

Not only has the number of Latinos eligible to vote increased to 36.2 million this year – more than 1 in 10 voters are expected to be Hispanic this year – but participation has also increased. Despite the pandemic in 2020, more than half of Latinos eligible to vote did so, an increase of about 30% from 2016 and about double the national increase. That was lower than other groups, but a high for Hispanic voters.

According to the Pew Research Center, Biden won the majority of the Latino vote, about 59%. But then-President Donald Trump managed to make gains among Republicans, especially in Florida.

Somos’ spending comes on top of Democratic spending targeting Latinos in the presidential and other races and some early visibility for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris among Latino voters in battleground states.

Cecia Alvarado, executive director of Somos Votantes in Nevada, will train young canvassers in Las Vegas in 2022.Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images file

On the Republican Party side, Alfonso Aguilar, Hispanic engagement director for the conservative American Principles Project, said his organization is devising plans to win over Latino voters this year, but expressed concern that the GOP is lagging behind getting that off the ground, while the Democrats are doing it. continue with Spanish-language advertising and other work.

“My challenge to Republicans is: let’s get moving,” he said. Republicans want to go after Latino votes, he said, but “my only warning is: You have to start now.”

A focus on Nevada and Arizona

On the political side, Morales said Somos PAC, which can donate directly to candidates, plans to convince potential voters to cast their ballots through ads, literature and knocking on 3 million doors in support of Democratic candidates.

Morales said about half of Somos’ spending this year will likely be in Arizona and Nevada. In Arizona, they plan to knock on more than 1.2 million doors in support of Biden and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who would be the first Latino senator elected from the state if he wins his potential matchup against Republican Kari Lake, a Trump supporter, one of a handful of races that could determine control of the Senate. Both Gallego and Lake must first win their primaries on July 30.

In Nevada, Somos plans to knock on more than 1 million doors and spend nearly $5 million on bilingual paid communications to boost the campaigns of Biden and Sen. Jacky Rosen, whose reelection is also crucial to the Democrats’ retention of control of the Senate.

According to AdImpact, Somos PAC in Nevada spent about $3.3 million in 2022 to defeat Adam Laxalt, a Trump-backed Republican. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the only Latina in the U.S. Senate, was re-elected, allowing Democrats to maintain their 51-49 majority in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives, the Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take control. The political side of Somos Votantes opened a $1.5 million campaign targeting Latino voters with a bilingual ad featuring small business owners, targeting Texas Republican Rep. Monica De La Cruz and promoting Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden.

Somos Votantes says it spent about $33 million on the 2020 elections, focusing mainly on the crucial battleground states of Nevada and Arizona. Biden won Nevada and defeated Arizona, a traditionally red state that had last elected a Democrat as president in 1996.

“Elections are really won and lost at the margins, so to win at the margins we’re going to have to actually talk to voters at the margins, including Latinos” who don’t vote often or are new to voting, Morales said.

Victor Villenueva leaves a pamphlet on a voter's door in Nevada
In 2022, a pamphlet will be left at the door of a potential voter in Nevada. Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Conversations about Latino voters have focused on whether a larger share of the electorate will vote Republican this year. Morales said it’s still early and Latinos are just beginning to tune in. So far, she said, “we are not seeing the same curiosity around him (Trump) that we saw in 2020.”

“I think there’s a really good opportunity here, once our PAC program gets underway, to really create the contrast between the two candidates; what is our forward-looking vision for the next four years?” said Morales. “And what is the contrast with what Donald Trump says, where he really sticks to his – even more than 2020 – election rhetoric, the more right-wing extremism.”

In addition, BOLD PAC, the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, announced it is planning a six-figure investment in turning out Latino voters in Arizona, Florida and Texas, in partnership with local organizations.

Republicans have closed several Latino outreach centers that helped them become Hispanic voters in 2020. first reported by the now closed news site Messenger. Last month, RNC spokesperson Danielle Alvarez told Reuters that seven community centers will remain open, but that “the outreach to the minority community is more than just physical buildings.”

Steven Cortes, a former Trump adviser, told NBC News that Republicans have made “remarkable” gains among Hispanic voters “organically,” without any substantial pressure from the RNC or heavily funded groups. But, he said, “we don’t get as much as we should get if we were more organized.”

Aguilar said Republicans will also compare the candidates’ data and that Hispanic voters will look first at the economy, including high grocery and home prices.

“The dynamic is not right-wing extremism, but rather a return to policies that preserve the American Dream versus left-wing politics,” he said.

About 22% of Latinos were first-time voters in 2020, according to Catalist, a data analytics company that conducts research for progressives and Democrats. A similar share of new Latino voters was predicted this year in a UnidosUS survey.

While turnout among Latino voters is improving, more than three-quarters of non-Hispanic white Americans voted in 2020, compared to just under 54% for Latinos, according to researchers at the City University of New York.

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