WASHINGTON — As the November midterm elections inch closer, newly released information indicates Latino voters may play a large role in the outcome of Florida races.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' new "The Latino Vote in Election 2022" report projects that nearly one in every five Florida voters will be Latino.
What You Need To Know
- The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials recently released its "The Latino Vote in Election 2022" report
- The report projects that nearly one in five Florida voters will be Latino during the midterm elections
- That means more than 18% of all voters — about 1.4 million people — are expected to be Latino when the polls open in November
More than 1.4 million Latino voters are expected to show up at the polls in Florida this November.
According to NALEO, that's just over 18% of all expected Florida voters.
"Certainly the growth, the vote has definitely grown over the years and it's been very steady," said Dorian Caal, the NALEO director of Civic Engagement Research.
Despite Latino voters typically favoring Democratic candidates, during the 2020 general election, Latino voters in Florida gave former President Donald Trump an edge.
Caal said there is often a misconception that Latino voters only care about the issue of immigration.
"I think one of the key things here, also, is not taking the Latino vote for granted," he said. "You know, if you're going to be engaged in a community and you're engaging a community on the issues that matter to them, that's certainly going to go a long way."
One political analyst says outreach is key.
"Historically, by Democrats own admission, they have started too late in trying to register new voters in an election year when they should have been doing it year round, which is what the Republicans have done," said Dr. Susan MacManus, a distinguished professor emerita at the University of South Florida. "That's a glaring error right there. Secondly, sometimes a lot of the Latino outreach to Florida comes from Democrats outside of Florida that really don't understand the extreme diversity based upon our Latino communities."
Democratic congressman Darren Soto said Democrats will remind Latino voters of the January 6 insurrection and COVID-19 crisis under the Trump Presidency, while touting President Joe Biden's accomplishments like the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
"I will say generally we Democrats have consistently won the Hispanic vote for many, many, many, many years," Soto said. "And throughout Florida, it's just how much of the vote Republicans end up getting ... it's our job to be able to show how we're delivering. I can tell you in my district — home to a large Puerto Rican community that I belong to — you know, health care and education are huge parts of it."
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has launched an initiative called Operation Vamos targeting Latino voters not just in Florida, but other battleground states, by talking about rising gas prices and groceries.
"In Florida, it's a significant portion of my vote, but in many states, it's 5, 6, 7%," Scott said. "Those are, that's a game changer vote. When Hispanics vote with Republicans, which they're going to do this year, it's going to help us win a majority in the Senate."
Republicans need to flip just one seat this November in the U.S. Senate to win control of the chamber.