Friday, July 19, 2024

Latino voters in key states are asking: Pete who?

As Iowa and New Hampshire voters boost Pete Buttigieg’s presidential hopes, Latinos in Nevada and California are asking: Pete who?

Buttigieg’s struggles to connect with voters of color, even as he’s vaulted into the top-tier of the Democratic presidential race, doesn’t end with black voters. The South Bend mayor polls in the low single digits among Latinos, too and Nevada — the third state to cast ballots and where Latinos make up about a third of the population — threatens to deliver a blow to the 37-year-old’s campaign.

In interviews with more than a dozen Latino activists and leader from Washington to California and Nevada, some members of the key voting bloc describe Buttigieg’s outreach as non-existent. His problem among Latinos has been largely overlooked as Buttigieg labors to counter criticism that he is out of step with African Americans.

In a Fox News poll of Nevada released earlier this month, he had 1 percent support among Latinos, while Sanders led with 31 percent and Biden 24 had percent. A Telemundo poll found Buttigieg at 1 percent support among Latinos in Clark County, Nevada, home to Las Vegas.

Nationally, Buttigieg drew 5 percent among Latinos nationally in a recent Morning Consult poll. During a recent campaign swing through California and Nevada, Buttigieg gave a similar answer to questions he’s faced about his lack of black voter support: “We’re not even known to a lot of voters” and “I’m looking forward to sharing our story.”

But Latino-led groups and organizations focused on marginalized communities say Buttigieg and his campaign have been absent. The story is similar in Washington: Buttigieg has not made attempts to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus through its campaign arm.