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Democratic memo: Party recaptured some Latinos who left during Trump era, but critics say more needed to win 2024

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee memo says it made gains in Hispanic districts and that Latinos favored voting for other Hispanic Americans. The memo also reveals the DCCC spent $18 million to target Hispanic Americans in races across the country, double what was spent in 2020

December 12, 2022 9:15am

Updated: December 12, 2022 9:18am

A strategic memo created by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that examines the party’s success in the 2022 midterm elections says the party recaptured some Hispanic Americans who left the party and turned Republican during the Trump years, according to reports.

The DCCC spent $18 million on digital and TV ads along with other forms of communication to target Hispanic Americans in races across the country, which was double the money spent on Latinos in 2020, according to the memo.

While Republicans ultimately won control of the House, winning 222 seats to the Democrats’ 213, the memo says, harnessing victories with at least eight Latino Democratic candidates in competitive House races, including Reps. Mike Levin in California, Yadira Caraveo in Colorado, Andrea Salinas in Oregon,

Teresa Leger Fernandez in New Mexico, Henry Cuellar in Texas and Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez in Washington state.

“Latino electorate-heavy districts from Virginia to Texas to Nevada turned out in support of Democrats,” the DCCC memo revealed. The memo also signaled that there were noticeable increases in districts where 19% of active voters were Latino and that many Hispanic Americans heavily favored Hispanic candidates. 

The memo also reveals the significant amount of money the party spent on targeting prospective Hispanic Americans and all voters of color.

In addition to the $18 million spent on ads and communications targeting Latinos, the committee also spent $30 million on its Build Our Base program, aimed at reinforcing and growing support among voters of color.

For example, the DCCC spent $1.15 million on English language ads and $126,058 on Spanish language ads in the district Mayra Flores won earlier this year. That district, which is 86% Hispanic was ultimately won by Democratic challenger Vicente Gonzalez by a whopping 8.5 points.

Gonzalez in South Texas was one of the beneficiaries of the spending. AdImpact data reports the DCCC spent $1.15 million on English language ads and about $126,058 million on Spanish language ads. Nationwide, the DCCC spent nearly $100.4 million on TV, radio and digital ads, $4.6 million of which was dedicated to Spanish-language advertising.

According to AdImpact, hundreds of millions were spent in total by Democratic and Republican campaigns, as well as their affiliated outside groups.   

The memo also addressed Latino gains made by Republicans during the Trump presidency. The DCCC said its own research contradicted forecasts made by media analysts since 2020, which suggested a Latino red wave would wash across the country.

In 2020, an NBC report indicated that while Republicans George W. Bush were able to garner 40% of the Latino vote, Sen. John McCain 42% in 2008. But in 2020, Trump was able to harness 45% of the Hispanic vote in the Democratic Rio Grande Valley, an 11 point improvement over his performance there in 2016.

The data demonstrates Democrats had more success in 2022.

“Latino electorate-heavy districts from Virginia to Texas to Nevada turned out in support of Democrats,” the DCCC stated. 

However, Democrats also acknowledged that they will have to do better in Hispanic district to ultimately recapture the House of Representatives in 2024.

Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha who has been openly critical the Democrats’ commitment to fostering Hispanic American voters and commissioning of Latino consultants, told NBC News that it’s impossible to deny the reality Hispanic voters “helped make history in the midterms.”

“But there is also no denying that if we want to win back control of Congress in 2024, we will need to win Latino-heavy congressional districts we lost in 2022 midterms," Rocha told NBC.

He pointed to Florida’s Congressional District 27 where Republican Maria Elvira Salazar defeated Annette Taddeo lost to, and the 15th District in Texas where GOPer Monica de la Cruz defeated Michelle Vallejo.

He also referenced California District 13, 22 and 27 races where Democrats were expected to win by 10 or more points, according to the Cook Political Report.

In California's 13th Congressional District, the state’s Central Valley, the DCCC spent about $415,841 on Spanish language ads and $2.7 million on English language, according to AdImpact. The race has yet to be called by NBC News. In early December Democrat Adam Grey conceded to Republican John Duarte.

In California's 22nd Congressional District race where Republican David Valadao defeated Rudy Salas  the DCCC spent almost $13.9 million on Spanish language ads and only a third of that in English ads.

In California’s 27th Congressional District, which is northern Los Angeles, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia defeated Democrat Christy Smith despite Democrats having a registration advantage there.

The DCCC did not funnel funds to that race. 

Some Democrats also believe the party did not invest enough in their challenge to shock underdog Mayra Flores in Texas. In that race, where polling was showing Vallejo could not win, the DCCC only spent $61,150 in Spanish language ads and $147,935 on English language ads.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.