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Latino Dems rely on Padilla to increase mid-term participation

Padilla will run in a concurrent election next year – a special election to complete the remainder of Harris’ term until 2023 and a regular election for a full six-year term.

The plan is to leverage Padilla’s popularity – especially among Latinos – to increase Latin American participation in the state, where they make up around 30% of the electorate. Part of the goal, according to Latino Democratic agents and leaders, is to achieve Democratic victories in districts with high Latino populations that have been overlooked by the party in the past.

“We want to use the momentum of Padilla being the first Latino senator to train new and young voters,” said Christopher Guerrero, vice president of California-based J&Z Strategies, who is working with Nuestro PAC on this effort. “We know their release will also reverberate and affect other tickets in the state – and Nuestro PAC is very keen to regain the seats we lost in 2020.”

The effort will focus on the seats currently held by Republican Representatives David Valadao, Mike Garcia, Young Kim, Michelle Steel and Darrell Issa. In three of those districts, a Republican ousted an incumbent Democrat. Earlier in 2020, Garcia toppled his district in a special election after Democratic Rep. Katie Hill resigned.

Guerrero, who was part of Padilla’s transition team for the Senate, explained that most of the seats targeted are in Orange County and southeastern Los Angeles County, which has seen growth. important of the Latino community population as new voters.

“Latinos are such an important part of these neighborhoods that if we make a concerted effort to talk to them we can turn them blue,” said Eileen Garcia, executive director of Nuestro PAC.

California’s redistribution process – led by an independent citizens’ commission – is still ongoing, meaning the state won’t have a final map for several months. The commission is expected to release draft official maps on November 10.

California is set to lose a seat in Congress for the first time in its history, reducing the number of House seats from 53 to 52.

Latin American and National Democrats have long called on the Democratic Party to invest more in early outreach efforts – as opposed to the final weeks of a campaign – to get Latinos to vote. These calls were especially strong after the 2020 election, where Latinos across the country gradually turned to Donald Trump.

Latino Democratic agents see California as prime land for these investments, as Latino voters make up a significant portion of the electorate and are younger.

In the recent recall election for governor, about 78 percent of Latinos voted against the recall, according to an analysis by UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. In Southern California, Latino support for Newsom has increased by 75%, even in historically Republican places like Orange and Riverside counties. Only 40% of non-Latino voters voted no on the recall in Orange, and 45% of non-Latinos voted no in Riverside.

In Merced County, a predominantly Latino county in the state’s central valley, 76% of Latinos voted no on the recall, compared to 15% of non-Latinos, according to UCLA analysis.

Nuestro PAC, founded by Bernie Sanders campaign alumnus Chuck Rocha, begins its campaign with digital ads and will later include direct mail and TV spots in English and Spanish.

Earlier this month, the Latino Victory Fund announced that it was approving Padilla, the son of working-class Mexican immigrants, for his first full term in the Senate. The progressive group noted that it had “already made its mark” in the Senate as a strong supporter of voting rights, immigrant rights, access to health care and work on Covid-19 recovery .

Padilla, the former California Secretary of State, has become a leading figure on Capitol Hill pushing for the passage of voting rights legislation and the inclusion of immigration reform via President Joe Biden’s sweeping social spending plan.

Some California Democrats argue the party must commit to raising Padilla’s profile nationally as part of its efforts to connect with Latino voters. Already, there are signs his value as a substitute is being recognized: Padilla campaigned Wednesday night in Northern Virginia for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

“Sen. Padilla will play a pivotal role not only in ensuring that the Latino voters who were mobilized in the 21 recall elections will be prepared for the 22 midterms, but also in bringing out other voters through the country, ”said Sonja Diaz, Founder Director of UCLA’s Latino Politics and Policy Initiative.

“There is a need for the Democratic Party to rally around the future of Senator Padilla, ensuring that he gets the speaking time and exposure necessary to create a national donor base,” she said. added. “It is essential to increase the enthusiasm in the party.

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