Saturday, May 18, 2024

Biden campaign trying to make up ground with Latinos

The morning after Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday romp, one of his top House endorsers, California Rep. Tony Cardenas, called the campaign with an urgent plea: Fix the problem with Latino voters. Fast.

“Now that you have the resources, are you going to put them into the Latino voting community?” Cardenas said he asked a top Biden adviser. The answer was yes.

Flush with a $22 million cash infusion in five days, the Biden campaign says it’s readying Latino-oriented “six-figure” ad buys in the March 17 primary states in Florida, Arizona and Illinois in the hopes of killing off one of Bernie Sanders’ few mainstays of support. The campaign is hiring and deploying Latino organizers in Arizona and Florida, both swing states crucial to stopping President Trump.

And it’s racking up endorsements from prominent elected leaders. On Friday, Rep. Ruben Gallego — a well-known progressive in Arizona — threw in with Biden even though he told POLITICO he may align with Sanders on a lot of policy positions. “What I care about is beating Donald Trump,” said Gallego, the first major Latino in the state to endorse.

Gallego plans to help Biden organize ahead of the Arizona primary and said that Biden’s connections to Latinos in Arizona run deep, going back to the Obama-Biden battles with the state when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducted immigration raids that racially profiled Latinos. The burst of activity is the clearest sign that Biden’s campaign appears to have taken its losses with Latinos — and the warnings from allies like Cardenas — seriously.

After dominating among Latinos in Nevada, Sanders won 49 percent of the Latino vote in California compared to Biden’s 22 percent. In Texas, Sanders beat Biden with Latinos by 13 percentage points. “There is a clear recognition that we could have performed better amongst Latinos in the primary so far,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), a Biden endorser, “and that we have to do a lot better job moving forward in getting Latino voters enthusiastic for our campaign.”