President Joe Biden‘s reelection effort knows it “can’t take Latino support for granted” and is making a concerted effort to sell his record to the voting bloc, especially in battleground states, heading into 2024.
The president’s 2024 campaign, associated PACs, and the Democratic National Committee are all making “historic” spends targeting Latinos, especially men, as Republicans continue their efforts to control a larger share of the fastest-growing demographic in the country.
Former President Donald Trump gained nearly 8 points more of the Latino vote in 2020 than he did in 2016, good for nearly 40%, and the Republican Party largely maintained that share in the 2022 midterm elections.
Though Latino voters still eventually supported Biden over Trump by a factor of roughly a wide margin, the president was criticized for largely ignoring the group throughout much of the 2020 Democratic primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Biden’s top Democratic challenger in 2020, outspent and outstaffed the president in terms of Latino outreach, and the president’s current campaign is looking to improve on their performance in 2024.
“The resources, investment, and focus on Latinos is light years beyond where we were for 2020,” a Democratic operative familiar with Biden’s campaign strategy told the Washington Examiner.
Biden campaign officials told the Washington Examiner that a central tenet of Biden’s Latino outreach strategy is to meet voters where they are. That means, according to the campaign, reaching Latino voters, especially younger voters, on digital and streaming platforms, specifically YouTube and Hulu, and local Latino-owned television and radio stations.
Campaign officials also stressed that Latinos are “not a monolith” and said that ads will run in different “accents” unique to the Latino populations that live in specific media markets.
The Biden campaign launched its first “Spanglish” ad on Sept. 15, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, as part of a $25 million campaign targeting Latino and black voters in critical swing states. The Biden campaign previously launched two other ads targeting Latinos as part of that $25 million spend ahead of the first Republican debate in August, and Biden officials claim the ad campaign marks the largest early investment targeting minority voting blocs for an incumbent.
The new ad itself, titled “For Us,” is specifically running on Sunday Night Football and soccer matches in Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania in hopes of reaching young male Latinos. Republicans had ramped up their own efforts ahead of the midterm elections to peel off male Latino voters, and though a predicted Latino red wave failed to materialize outside of Florida, the party did see a moderate uptick in support among male Latinos in several battleground states, especially in the Southwest.
A look at Biden’s top reelection effort personnel also underlines how the president is placing a greater focus on the demographic in 2024.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez and Kevin Munoz, both Biden White House alums, serve as campaign manager and national spokesman, and the campaign recently added Maria Carolina “Maca” Casado as a spokeswoman and director of Hispanic Media. Casado previously filled a similar role at the Democratic National Committee and was a driving force behind the party’s Latino grassroots organizing and training program put into practice ahead of the midterm elections.
Campaign officials stress that the president tapped Chavez Rodriguez, who previously served as a top adviser as White House director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, to lead his 2024 effort based on her credentials, not her background, but readily conceded that having a Latina woman atop the campaign will make it easier to connect with Latino voters.
“She’s actually the best person to do the job. That doesn’t have anything to do with her being Latina. She is the best person to build the coalition that we need to win in 2024,” one campaign official told the Washington Examiner. “Now, having a Latina campaign manager, it’s a double sword. Having a Latina campaign manager is bringing the attention to the Latino issues.”
Meanwhile, Cristobal Alex and Pili Tobar, two other former Biden White House officials, recently departed the administration to lead the Latino advertising campaign at Future Forward USA Action, a nonprofit group backing Biden’s reelection campaign.
Future Forward has booked nearly $15 million in ads since August focusing on Biden’s governing record, and the group says it plans to message in both English and Spanish.
“Latinos are a key part of the governing coalition in the Biden-Harris administration,” Alex said in a statement. “Our program will reach these Latinos where they are, discuss the issues that matter to the Latino community, and focus on President Biden delivering for hard-working people.”
And the Biden campaign is making use of the DNC’s Latino grassroots network in critical battlegrounds, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
Biden has also previously stated his desire to connect directly with Latino voters voters and is scheduled to deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 2023 Gala on Thursday. Chavez Rodriguez and Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke at the event on Wednesday.