Friday, April 19, 2024

The Pressing Latino Vote In Colorado


In Colorado, polls have shown Hillary Clinton up in the state and then Donald Trump closing in and then Clinton up again by some 10 points. But having worked in Nevada, Clinton’s Colorado state director Emmy Ruiz says she’s accustomed to the shifts that go with the politics in a swing state.

When the Clinton campaign first arrived in Nevada two years before the primaries, Ruiz said she often was asked ‘why are you guys even here?’ But one thing’s certain, Clinton, who had won Nevada in 2008, won the caucus there last February. In Colorado, however, she lost the state’s March Democratic caucus. “We have learned to be focused and to try to win every vote,” Ruiz said. What was learned in Nevada, Ruiz said, is being applied in Colorado.

The state is considered to have shifted from red to blue in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama won. Until then, the state had voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964, except when Bill Clinton won the state in 1992. But when Republican Cory Gardner won the state’s U.S. Senate seat in the 2014 mid-term race — ousting incumbent Democrat Mark Udall — Democrats learned the state was not yet deeply etched in blue.

Oscar Ramirez, a Democratic strategist and principal at the Podesta Group, said Colorado is a state that can’t be taken for granted. “It’s not Florida, not Ohio, but for Democrats to win, they need to give Democratic voters a reason to come out,” said Ramirez. “Otherwise we have a replay of the Mark Udall race in 2014.” He said Democrats expect Colorado to be competitive. “To be competitive means the Latino vote is front and center,” Ruiz said. Colorado’s Latino population is the 8th largest in the country.

Although the state often is known for its long established Latino population, newer and expanding Hispanic populations are being seen in places like Aspen, where workers in the resort areas have settled, as well as in in Colorado Springs and Greeley, Ruiz said. This has created opportunities to grow Democrats’ Latino base in a year when GOP Hispanics and others are separating from the party’s nominee, Trump.

NBC News