Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Hispanic Caucus blasts Pelosi PAC over Latino outreach

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 31, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is rebuking the political action committee connected to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over its plan to spend just a sliver of its 2022 midterm campaign budget on Spanish-language ads.

Why it matters: Establishment Democratic groups and PACs are facing harsh criticism from Latino supporters. They say white party leaders continue to ignore Latino voters, despite warnings and evidence from 2020 that the Republican Party is making inroads with Hispanics.

Driving the news: The House Majority PAC — which is aligned with Pelosi — announced last month it will be spending over $100 million on TV and digital ads during the final months of this year's midterm cycle.

  • That plan allocates only about $1.2 million, or 1% of its total spending, for Spanish-language ads.
  • Those ads are scheduled to run in markets like Fresno, California, and Laredo, Texas, where swing Latino voters will be crucial in close races.
  • The Hispanic Caucus's PAC and other Latino groups want Democrats to engage more with Spanish-speaking voters, who often are not addressed in their native language until late in election campaigns.

The other side: House Majority PAC executive director Abby Curran Horrell told Axios the PAC has reserved $42 million of the overall media buy for markets reaching "Latino-influence" districts, although most of those buys will be in English.

  • “House Majority PAC has a long history of supporting Latino candidates and engaging with Latino communities in order to elect Democrats to the U.S. House — and in 2022 we will continue to build upon that work."
  • The PAC may also reserve more Spanish-language ads in the future, Horrell said.

Between the lines: The chair of the Hispanic Caucus's PAC, known formally as the CHC BOLD PAC, told Axios scant spending on crucial Spanish-language ads — and only late in the game — could hurt Democrats wanting to engage Hispanic early.

  • "The way that House Majority PAC has made investments, so far this cycle, raises doubts about its commitment to this critical early outreach," said the chair, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
  • "Just look at its decision to dedicate only 1% of its early TV and digital investments to outreach in Spanish, which is key to reaching Latino voters this cycle."

Don't forget: The House Majority PAC angered CHC BOLD PAC earlier this month after it committed nearly $1 million to a TV ad campaign for a white, little-known, first-time candidate in an Oregon Democratic House primary.

  • There are three Latina candidates in the nine-member field, and CHC BOLD PAC and other Democrats are supporting state Rep. Andrea Salinas, a popular Latina candidate for the newly created seat.
  • "Democrats should be moving mountains to ensure that there are more women at the table — especially women of color — instead of actively trying to tip the scales against an exceptionally experienced Latina," Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), a CHC BOLD PAC board member, said in a statement.

The intrigue: The National Republican Congressional Committee told Axios that 103 Hispanic Republican candidates are seeking House seats across the country this year — a record for the party.

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