Both sides in election courting Latino voters

first_img Still, Schwarzenegger’s campaign efforts include at least two ads running on Spanish TV – neither featuring the governor, who does not speak Spanish. One features young children playing with blocks that have the numbers 74, 75, 76 and 77 on them, while an announcer argues that the measures would benefit schools. Another ad features four people speaking about why they support each of the governor’s four initiatives. Officials with the Alliance for a Better California, the main labor-backed coalition fighting the governor’s agenda, also have been working hard to court the Latino vote. The alliance, which has featured Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in its television and print ads, has also mobilized Spanish-speaking union members to go door-to-door in urban neighborhoods. The group has also capitalized on Schwarzenegger’s ties to former Gov. Pete Wilson, who became unpopular in the Latino community after backing anti-immigrant measures, by featuring the two side-by-side or morphing into each other in ads and asking voters to stop the “Wilson-Schwarzenegger agenda.” Another Alliance ad features a schoolteacher discussing the effects Schwarzenegger’s measure would have on schools and then cuts to Villaraigosa urging voters to oppose the measures. Still, some analysts argue, neither campaign has been courting Latinos to the extent they have in past elections. Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan organization that studies and seeks to improve Latino political participation, believes both campaigns are focusing more on high-propensity voters – who tend to be white and affluent – than they do in a regular election when wider turnout is projected. “The political consultants are scared of voters that don’t have a clear track record on these issues, so they don’t do the kind of big turnout activities you do when it’s a race between candidates and parties,” Gonzalez said. “Just by the definition of this campaign, you don’t have the same amount of resources or attention or messaging going to Latino communities as, say, the white communities. That’s a function of dollars and cents. It’s also a function of a special election on insider-baseball-type initiatives.” Harrison Sheppard, (916) 446-6723 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to make his case for reform measures on the Nov. 8 special-election ballot, he and his opponents have stepped up their battle for the state’s Latino voters. The governor taped a town-hall forum on Spanish-language Univision that aired statewide over the weekend, even as opponents launched their first Spanish-language TV ads featuring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attacking the governor’s proposals. The high-profile events are just the latest campaign efforts aimed at courting the 2 million Latinos registered to vote in California, accounting for 14 percent of the statewide electorate. “We’ve been on the air with a seven-figure Spanish TV buy for the last three weeks,” said Todd Harris, the governor’s campaign spokesman. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “In the past week, the governor has been endorsed by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Coalition, the Hispanic 100, the Hispanic Business Roundtable. Very influential statewide Latino groups have been joining the governor’s reform campaign in droves.” Harris, who was involved in Schwarzenegger’s recall campaign, said this year’s effort has more staff and resources dedicated toward courting the Latino vote than did the 2003 campaign. Still, the governor faces an uphill battle luring the Latino electorate – which has traditionally supported Democratic and union causes. Several of the ballot measures supported by Schwarzenegger – including one that would limit union use of members’ dues for political causes and one that would increase the time it takes teachers to gain tenure – have drawn battle lines with the unions. And a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California last week showed that 76 percent of Latinos disapprove of the governor’s job performance. last_img read more