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President Joe Biden

Biden campaign leans on CHC to build Hispanic support

After months of behind-the-scenes tensions, Bidenworld is trying to make amends with Hispanic Democrats ahead of the election.

Hispanic voters will be critical to President Joe Biden winning in November. And the campaign has recently stepped up its outreach to Hispanic voters, despite Latinos trending away from the party.

As part of that, the Biden campaign is seeking the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ input on how to turn out Hispanic voters in November.

“It is a positive step,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), a Biden campaign co-chair, told us. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment for us, especially with Latinos.”

News here: Members of BOLD PAC, the CHC’s campaign arm, met with Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez, former White House director of Legislative Affairs Louisa Terrell and Biden principal deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters last week.

“Members had an opportunity to share with the campaign what the concerns are with individual states,” Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) told us. “The Latino vote is critically important, and I think the campaign understands that.”

Bold PAC Chair Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) requested the meeting. The group is also working to secure a one-on-one meeting with Biden, viewing this as the first step to achieving that.

Remember: The CHC remains frustrated with the Biden administration after the group was excluded from Senate negotiations last year over the bipartisan border security package.

It didn’t help when Biden ad-libbed in his State of the Union speech, referring to an undocumented immigrant accused of killing a Georgia college student as “an illegal.” Biden later apologized, which the administration flagged to CHC leadership.

But the Biden campaign recognizes it needs Hispanic voters to turn out for him, especially as Republicans hammer Democrats on the southern border.

Biden announced the new outreach program, Latinos con Biden-Harris, in Arizona this week as he made a plea to Hispanic voters to help him defeat former President Donald Trump.

The campaign spent $25 million on an ad buy last fall to target Hispanic voters and invested another $30 million on an ad buy this week that will tout Biden’s accomplishments in Spanish, English and Spanglish.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have also done numerous interviews with Hispanic media, including six this week alone, according to a Biden campaign aide.

“[The Hispanic vote] is not a freebee,” Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) said. “He’s got to go out there and earn it, but I think most people are pretty happy.”

More to be done: Some CHC members are pushing for even more investment into Hispanic outreach, warning Biden not to take the vote for granted.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) urged the campaign to hire more Hispanic workers who can best understand their communities. “It’s time they actually hire culturally competent people in the different aspects of the campaign where they want to address those voters,” Cardenas told us.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) said Biden should sharpen his rhetoric against Republican attacks and focus more on what he will do to boost Hispanics. “Something we want is for him to be more aggressive and more prominent on some of these issues to protect our communities,” Garcia told us.

And Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has criticized Biden for being too soft on border security, said the president should take a more hardline stance on curbing illegal migrant crossings. “In border states, he’s got to talk about the border,” Cuellar told us. “He’s got work to do, but he still has time.”

Mica Soellner

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