Getting the Latino vote in Arizona may no longer be a safe bet for Democrats

PHOENIX – Latino voters make up 20% of Arizona’s electorate. It’s a significant number. Even though most Latinos are expected to vote Democrat by midterm, more and more of them are voting Republican.

With statewide races so close, even a slight shift to the right could have a profound impact on Election Day.

“Nosotras estamos listas para participar,” “We are ready to participate,” State Senator Raquel Teran, chairwoman of the Arizona Democratic Party, told Spanish-language media on Thursday. Party leaders were making a last-minute appeal to Latinos to come out and vote. “We’ve been at the gates since June 2022, on the phone, it’s not just a transactional relationship,” Teran said.

Latinos were once considered reliable Democratic voters, but in Arizona and nationally, there are signs that are changing.

Donald Trump won nearly 40% of Arizona’s Hispanic vote in 2020.

Most ever by a Republican presidential candidate in Arizona.

“The Latino vote has been elusive this election cycle. We see it in Texas and we see it in Arizona,” Marco Lopez said.

Lopez was a candidate for governor in the Arizona Democratic primary. Katie Hobbs wouldn’t argue with him. An insult Lopez says resonates today.

“The voter from the Latino community, the voter from the Native American community, the voter from the African American community all felt insulted,” Lopez said. “They feel insulted by the era of democratic parties. Because if you take these communities for granted for too long, someone with an option, with an alternative will come forward.”

Two prominent Latinos, former Diamondbacks player Luis Gonzalez and Olympic gold medalist wrestler Henry Cejudo have endorsed Kari Lake for the governorship.

The same goes for Catholic author, blogger and radio show host Jesse Romero. Romero broadcasts on 40 Catholic radio stations across the country from his home in Queen Creek.

Romero says social issues, like abortion, as well as political and economic issues, are driving Latinos away from the Democratic Party. “Hispanics are people of faith who love family. We’re people who start small businesses and we’re also people who’ve had horrible experiences with big governance,” Romero said.

A poll by the NALEO Education Fund reported that 55% of Latino voters said they plan to vote for Democratic candidates for Congress this year. That’s down from 70% in 2018.

Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego isn’t buying it. Not in Arizona at least, where the average age of a Latino voter is 26.

“Let me tell you, it’s from the age of a 26-year-old when they start voting. I know a lot of them are at the moment. For different reasons, when they do, they don’t vote Republican.” said Gallego.

According to Voto Latino, 74.5% of Latinos in Arizona who have already voted this year say they voted Democratic. But the actual number of voters is down 20,000 from the same period in 2018.

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