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Democrats and Republicans are courting Latinos over the economy in the tight Nevada Senate race

Latino voters will make up 20% of the electorate this fall in Snowfallwhere Democrats and Republicans hope the growing voice of voters will influence a competitive race that could determine which party controls the US Senate.

Polls show the incumbent Democratic senator. Catalina Cortez-Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, slightly behind Republican Adam Laxalt. With early voting starting next month and campaigns reaching the final stretch, both sides are courting Latino voters with a final message focused on the economy.

Republicans say the state’s high inflation rate and growing economic anxiety give the GOP the best chance to win over working-class Latino voters and win a crucial Senate seat.

“The Latino vote is going to help us win in November,” said Jesús Márquez, a special adviser to the Laxalt campaign. “If we get 35%, that would be a win across the board, but I estimate we’ll get 40% of the Latino vote.”

Adam Laxalt, Catherine Cortez Masto

Getty Images/Trevor Bexon, Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republicans also point to former President Donald Trump’s gains with Latinos in Nevada in 2020 as cause for optimism.

Trump won 35% of the Latino vote in Nevada two years ago, a seven-point increase from 2016. According to CBS News exit polling, Trump also made significant gains among Latino men nationally, rising from 30% in 2016 to 43% in 2020.

Nevada’s voting population was split into thirds with registered independents second behind registered Democrats. While President Joe Biden won the Latino vote in Nevada between 65% and 35% in 2020, just won the statecoming out on top by just 33,600 votes.

That narrow victory in the state, despite the significant margin with Latino voters, is why Democrats and Republicans are racing to attract Latino voters. Your vote will help decide the winner of this Senate seat and potentially decide which party will take control of the United States Senate. With the Senate currently split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, every race is essential for both parties.

Nationally, more than half of Latino voters say they plan to support Democrats and highlight the economy as the main issue driving their vote, according to a recent study. New York Times/Siena College survey. But Latinos are nearly split when it comes to which party they agree with on economic policy: 43% say they prefer Democrat economic solutions, while 41% say they prefer Republican solutions.

“The economy has just been a powerful issue for Republicans in the state,” a Republican strategist familiar with the Laxalt campaign told CBS News. The strategist also said that Laxalt’s campaign will demonstrate through his closing message that “Cortez Masto is part of the problem that created this economy.”

the COVID-19 pandemic it severely affected Nevada’s economy, which relies heavily on the hotel and tourism industries. Shutdowns at the height of the pandemic led to an unemployment rate of nearly 30%, double the national average.

Latinos, who make up a large part of the workforce that was affected during the pandemic, also contracted COVID in greater numbers relative to their share of the population in snowfall

Nevada unemployment rate has dropped to 4.4%, but the inflation rate of the state of 15.4% It is among the highest in the country. Nevada also has the third highest average gas prices at $5.21 a gallon, according to AAA.

Republicans in Nevada hope this will lead to Latino voters expressing their frustration with voting for the party in charge.

But Democrats argue that voters’ concerns about the economy are an opportunity for them to highlight President Biden’s legislative victories, such as the passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Tax Reduction Act. inflation.

“Everything we’re talking about is related to the economy,” said Josh Marcus-Blank, communications director for the Cortez Masto campaign. “We’re going to keep talking about the ways the senator has supported the Latino community, the small businesses she saved, and the good union jobs that lie ahead.”

The Cortez Masto campaign has also been running ads promoting the Inflation Reduction Act, which allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. Democratic supporters say his party can’t shy away from bragging about its accomplishments and needs to highlight those wins when it interacts with the Latino community.

“Latinos are in a window of constant persuasion, they are actually some of the most persuasive voters that we have in the electorate,” said Tory Gavito, co-founder and president of Way to Win, a national Democratic advocacy group that is investing $2.3 million to turn out voters of color in Nevada. “When you tell them what the Democrats are doing to support them in this economy, they will vote Democrat,” she added.

That’s the playbook that Make the Road Nevada, a left-leaning organization focused on attracting 76,000 Latino voters in the East Las Vegas area, is trying to execute on the ground.

“When my community needed help, the Republican Party was nowhere to be found,” said Leo Murrieta, director of Make the Road Nevada. “They didn’t open food banks, they didn’t open vaccination clinics, they didn’t do any of that. It was the Democrats who came together and made that shit happen so our families could literally survive.”

It’s the same message the Culinary Union is pushing by deploying 270 full-time pollsters on behalf of Democrats in Las Vegas and Reno to knock on more than 1.1 million doors, nearly doubling their effort since 2020.

Ted Pappageorge, the union’s secretary and treasurer, said they are reminding voters that resources from Democrats allowed the group to convert one of its training facilities into a food bank that supported an average of 1,800 members a day for more than one year.

While Republicans are confident they can attack Cortez Masto on economic issues, his campaign also sees an opportunity to go on the offensive by talking about abortion rights and highlighting Laxalt’s involvement in the Trump campaign (Laxalt served as co-chair of Trump in Nevada 2020) and an opinion piece Laxalt wrote stating that thousands of incorrect votes were cast in Nevada.

Marcus-Blank said the Cortez Masto campaign will portray Laxalt as “the face of the Big Lie” in Nevada. Cortez Masto has also focused on abortion rights and made the issue a central issue in his campaign after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

More than 70% of eligible Latino voters support a woman’s right to choose, according to a recent poll by UnitedUS, one of the largest Latino advocacy organizations in the country. In Nevada, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks after pregnancy, and Republicans acknowledge that the state’s electorate is pro-choice.

But the Cortez Masto campaign sees abortion as a way to mobilize Latino voters and attack Laxalt.

“It’s also about reminding people of the threat that Adam Laxalt poses. It would be an automatic vote for a federal abortion ban,” Marcus-Blank said. The GOP strategist familiar with Laxalt’s campaign said abortion protections are laid out in the law in the state and “voters know that’s not going to change,” adding that Laxalt opposes a federal abortion ban. .

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham recently proposed a bill that would ban abortions at the federal level after 15 weeks. In response to whether Laxalt would support the bill, a Laxalt spokesperson said the proposal “has no chance of passing Congress,” adding that “the law in Nevada was settled by voters decades ago and is not going to change”.

As the campaign moves into the final weeks, Cortez Masto and Laxalt are running ads in Spanish. Earlier this month, Laxalt released a Spanish-language ad highlighting the economy. Cortez Masto is on the air in Spanish discussing union jobs, health care and abortion. The Cortez Masto campaign also featured endorsements from more than 200 Latino community leaders in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.

Outside groups like Somos PAC, a left-leaning Latino voter mobilization group, are also spending money running ads in Spanish. Democrats have set aside nearly $90 million in ad space in the final weeks of the election, while Republicans have set aside more than $70 million.

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