Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP and Dem Latino political consultants launch podcast — together

Sandra Amado Gomez registers a soccer player to vote during halftime at the championship game of soccer in Raleigh, North Carolina .

Sandra Amado Gomez registers a soccer player to vote during halftime at a soccer game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

Two well-known Latino political consultants from dueling political parties are launching a new podcast that will examine Latino voters ahead of the 2022 midterms.

The big picture: Data, surveys and recent primary elections show that Republicans are making inroads with Latinos. At the same time, advocates say Democrats neglect Latinos.

Driving the news: Top Democratic operatives tell Axios they see expanding defections by Hispanic voters to the GOP, worsening Democrats' outlook for November's midterms.

  • A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that by 9 points, Hispanic voters said they'd back a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat.

Details: GOP consultant Mike Madrid and Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha announced their new podcast, "The Latino Vote," this month.

  • Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation CEO and former Republican Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba will be the host.

What they're saying: "It's just going to be like, open up the hood, get a beer, and sit back. We're going to get down and dirty with some politics and tell you how this engine works," Rocha, a former Bernie Sanders advisor, told Axios.

  • Rocha and Madrid say they strongly disagree on policy, but both respect each other and want Latinos to succeed in the U.S. The two men are Mexican American.
  • "Both parties have been doing it wrong for so long because of these white power structures. It's time for something different," Madrid, a founder of the Lincoln Project, told Axios.

Yes, but: Both consultants promise the podcast won't be without its fireworks.

  • "He is going to lean into his data. And I'm going to lean into stories," Rocha said.

The intrigue: An Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo in December found that crime and gun violence were the number two concerns for Latinos, behind COVID-19 and immigration, social justice and voting rights.

  • Madrid said Democrats are losing Latino voters by primarily focusing on immigration reform instead of the economy, even though immigration consistently ranks 5th or 6th among Latino concerns.
  • Rocha, meanwhile, said Republicans alienate Latino voters with offensive messages, but Democrats fail to engage with Hispanic voters and reach out to them late in election cycles.

Between the lines: In New Mexico, the state with the highest percentage of Latino residents, Republicans are investing in targeted outreach to Latino entrepreneurs, and small business owners, Democratic consultant Sisto Abeyta told Axios.

  • Meanwhile, anger is building among Democrats in the traditionally blue state. Some Hispanic Democrats expressed outrage last year after white Democratic insiders chose a white woman to replace outgoing Native American Rep. Deb Haaland as the Democratic nominee.

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