BATTLE FOR THE SENATE | TN-sen | WV-sen | MT-sen | ND-sen | FL-sen | MO-sen | IN-sen | NV-sen | AZ-sen | TX-sen

Democrats Hoping to Boost Low-Propensity Latino Voters

Cory Gardner predicted Republicans will grow their majority to as many as 55 seats.

Oct. 22, 2018, 11:14 a.m.

“Senate control for the next two years will be decided in part by how successful three House Democrats from southwestern states are in turning out Hispanic voters. … Democrats say they have the message and get-out-the-vote operations needed to mobilize the same coalition of voters who helped Hillary Clinton narrowly carry Nevada in 2016 and close the margins in Arizona and Texas. Polls show the three races are no better than tossups for Democrats, with Texas being the tallest climb, so a jolt from the party's lower-frequency voters could make the difference.” Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) “conceded it will be a ‘challenge’ to get the base to the polls … in a state ranked ‘50th in the country in voter turnout in midterms,’ but he remained optimistic.”

“Republicans have made more than one million voter contacts in Nevada, hiring more than three dozen field staff and 2,000 ‘fellows’ trained to build GOTV and voter registration operations. … By the close of registration Thursday the GOP had cut into Democrats’ active voter advantage by 22,000—just shy of the margin by which Clinton carried the state. But active Democratic voters still outnumber Republicans by 75,000, a bigger advantage than the party boasted in previous midterm elections and larger than” Sen. Dean Heller (R) “said in April that he hoped to face.”

“Nevada Democratic Party … Executive Director Alana Mounce said the organization is ‘more efficient’ than it was in 2016 based on the fact that every 64 phone calls the party makes yields a volunteer recruit. She said the party is working on ‘running up the score’ in Las Vegas-anchored Clark County with the help of fluent Spanish and Tagalog speakers on staff who predominantly focus on turning out young voters and ‘voters of color’ both by phone and in person.”

“Fifty groups reported spending on federal races in Nevada so far this cycle. The left-leaning groups among them span every corner of the Democratic diaspora, including One APIA Nevada. … For Our Future, a coalition of progressive groups founded by unions and Tom Steyer’s NextGen America, has knocked on 300,000 doors since it started canvassing in the Silver State in May and plans to do at least 200,000 more. … Progressive Turnout Project … secured commitments from 6,000 registered Democrats to vote.” (National Journal)

“Arizona Democrats are hoping favorable demographics and President Trump's harsh rhetoric on immigration will lead to higher turnout among Latino voters on Election Day, as the party seeks to replicate the model that made it competitive in Colorado and Nevada. … Mi Familia Vota, a national grass-roots organization that registers Hispanic voters, has completed more than 80,000 registrations this year, and Arizona is one of their prime targets.” (The Hill)

“Democratic Party strategists hope Latino voters who are angered by the Trump administration’s policies and divisive language will help deliver resounding victories in many of the races that will decide political control in Washington. … But … many voters said they felt disempowered rather than emboldened; they expressed feelings of cynicism, apathy and fear fueled by the highly fraught political moment. Others said that messaging about immigration policy alone is not enough to motivate them. And some have simply lost faith that politicians will follow through on their promises once the elections are over.”

“S.E.I.U. members in the state had already knocked on the doors of 15,000 Hispanic and Asian voters, and the union brought a couple of hundred of its California members to Nevada by bus to participate in mobilization activities on Saturday, the first day of early voting in the state. There may be no stronger grass-roots political force in Clark County, which is home to more than three-quarters of the state’s population, than Culinary Workers Union Local 226, known in the county simply as Culinary. The 57,000-member union grants scores of service workers monthslong leaves of absence from their jobs as cooks and cleaners to focus on political outreach.” (New York Times)

Latino voters in 2016 “across the country and in Nevada stood in line for hours to cast their ballots against Trump. The uptick in Latino participation in that election helped Clinton carry the state and paved the way for Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto to become the first Latina senator in U.S. history.” Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) “is not a member of the Latino community and doesn’t speak Spanish. But she has made a huge play for minority communities, including Latinos.” (HuffPost)

BIG PICTURE. NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner “told national donors on a conference call this week that believes his party will win the vast majority of competitive Senate races. … Gardner’s sunny outlook envisions a Republican majority as brawny as 55 seats, a number that could put the GOP in the majority for years to come.” Gardner “predicted GOP challengers would oust” Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), “as well as protect” seats held by Republicans in Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. “Gardner also said that GOP attempts to oust” Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) “are difficult but still winnable.” (Politico)

“Democratic hopes of winning the Senate have faded in the final weeks of the 2018 election, with the party now needing to win every one of more than a half-dozen competitive races in order to capture control of the chamber. … Heitkamp’s seat has slipped away and looks likely to be a Republican pickup, and Democrats have not opened advantages in any of the three GOP-held seats where they’re on offense, instead trailing in public polling in Nevada and Tennessee.”

“With the majority looking improbable, party strategists have started to cast their eyes further ahead, looking at the 2018 Senate battlefield as a margin game. Just how big the Republican majority will be — and just how many red-state Democrats can win reelection in two weeks — could decide whether the GOP will cement Senate control for years or whether Democrats have the opportunity to wrest back the majority in 2020, when a more favorable array of states have Senate elections.” (Politico)

“Facing some of the toughest campaigns of their careers, … moderate colleagues believe they've received an unexpected gift from” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “In a triumphant post-Kavanaugh media tour last week, the Kentucky Republican waxed about his regret over the missed opportunity to repeal Obamacare and the need to reform entitlement programs to rein in the federal deficit.”

“After several days of Democrats' raising alarms about the stakes of the election and badgering GOP candidates over their entitlement positions, McConnell sought to dispel the idea that he wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. At a Ripon Society event in Washington on Thursday, he explained that he was merely stating that those programs fuel the budget deficit.” (Politico)

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