May 19, 2024
A new political action committee aimed at boosting Republican Hispanic candidates for the House cut its first ever round of checks this week to Latino candidates in top races.

A new political action committee aimed at boosting Republican Hispanic candidates for the House cut its first ever round of checks this week to Latino candidates in top races.

GOP Reps. Tony Gonzales and Mario Diaz-Balart launched the Hispanic Leadership Trust in May to fanfare within the House Republican conference. After months of fundraising and building the PAC, Gonzales said, the group is finally ready to offer financial support for the home stretch of the midterm elections.

“There is nothing easy about starting a new organization, and it certainly hasn’t been easy,” Gonzales told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “I’m excited that we’re finally at a point where we’re giving out cash because talk is cheap, and at the end of the day, cash will help a lot of these races.”

HOW REPUBLICANS COULD MAKE DEEPER INROADS WITH HISPANIC VOTERS

Nine Hispanic Republican candidates in House races this year will receive checks Thursday for $5,000 each. Eight Hispanic incumbent Republicans will receive $5,000 checks for their reelection efforts as well.

Most of the races in which the Hispanic Leadership Trust plans to get involved are hotly contested. Eight of the nine newcomer races are listed as competitive by the Cook Political Report this cycle.

One, Lori Chavez-DeRemer’s race to represent Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, is rated a toss-up.

Among the incumbents getting support, four of the races are listed as competitive.

To select which newcomer candidates received financial support, Gonzales said the PAC relied heavily on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program, which includes promising GOP House candidates who hit fundraising and messaging milestones.

Beyond Gonzales and Diaz-Balart, who Gonzales said has been an “incredible mentor” to him, members of House leadership lent support to the PAC as it got started.

“There is no way this organization would get off the ground without Kevin McCarthy’s leadership and Steve Scalise’s help, without Elise Stefanik, and that’s all just been very critical,” Gonzales said, referring to the top three highest-ranking House Republicans. “I had a conversation with [Minority] Leader McCarthy, and he was very promising and he goes, ‘This is only the start.’”

Republicans have stepped up their efforts to court Latino voters in recent years as an increasing number of Hispanics shift away from a Democratic Party that has grown more liberal and affluent in the past few cycles.

Former President Donald Trump increased his Latino support by roughly 8 percentage points between 2016 and 2020, and his performance with Hispanic voters in 2016 was already an improvement over former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s in 2012.

More recent polling suggests that while a significant percentage of Hispanic voters do support Republicans, most continue to vote for Democrats.

A New York Times poll released earlier this month showed roughly a third of Latino voters plan to cast their ballots for Republicans in November, compared to 56% who plan to vote for Democrats.

But on issues most important to Hispanic voters, such as the economy, Republicans enjoy higher marks with voters of all backgrounds, including Hispanics.

Beyond shaping messages for Hispanic voters, Gonzales said, the party should also seek messengers with them in mind.

“A large part of it is, the messenger matters and having, you know, Hispanic candidates that reflect their districts all throughout the country — I know a lot of attention is put on South Texas right now, but this is really throughout the entire country,” he said. “But it’s not going to happen on its own, and it can’t just happen with wishful thinking.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Republicans are eyeing some of the candidates selected by the Hispanic Leadership Trust as possible future stars.

Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX) won an upset victory in a special election in June and is fighting for a full term this November.

Yesli Vega, a Hispanic Republican candidate in northern Virginia, is running to unseat a vulnerable Democrat, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, in a district that has flipped back and forth between the parties in recent years.

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