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Mike Pence's political action group launches Spanish-language ad buy, as GOP continues early outreach to Latino voters

GOP wants to gain ground with Latino voters
GOP wants to gain ground with Latino voters 04:59

Former Vice President Mike Pence's political action group has released a new national ad in Spanish, a sign that the Republican Party is continuing to ramp up its early outreach to Latino voters on a variety of issues. 

The ad will run nationwide on Telemundo but is also targeted on cable and broadcast in the Las Vegas media market, hitting three competitive House seats held by Democrats (Representatives Susie Lee, Steven Horsford and Dina Titus).    

It's the fourth phase of a $10 million ad buy from Pence's group, Advancing American Freedom, that targets vulnerable congressional Democrats on energy policy. 

The latest ad, a six-figure buy, features a woman who fled Venezuela and criticizes the Biden administration for sending officials to Venezuela, a heavy oil-producing country that hasn't had formal diplomatic relations with the U.S. since 2019. 

"We don't need that radical, environmental agenda. America needs energy independence. Tell Congress to support American energy production, not dictators who hate freedom," Alessandra Torres, a Florida resident, says in the ad. 

Freedom and Opportunity - Spanish Language by Advancing American Freedom on YouTube

Pence, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, is building on early Republican outreach to Latino voters, as the party tries to grow its support in this voting bloc in a political climate that currently favors the GOP. Democrats hold slim majorities in Washington as the economy continues to struggle with inflation and high gas prices.

"It's time to demonstrate American leadership and unlock American opportunity by supporting American energy production that will lower prices at the pump and provide much needed financial relief to the nation," Pence said in a statement. 

Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff, told CBS News in April that the former vice president would be doing a lot of travel for House races ahead of the 2022 November elections. 

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm and another potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, launched a multi-million dollar initiative in April to organize and target Latino voters. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has also run four T.V. and radio ads in Spanish this midterm election cycle. A conservative Spanish-language national radio show also launched on Sirius XM in March, the first of its kind. 

A March CBS News poll found that inflation and economy were the highest-ranking issues for Latino voters.

In Virginia's 2021 gubernatorial race, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin's campaign made early efforts to organize and convince potential Latino voters through bilingual mailers, social media and a Spanish dub of their ad in the month before the election.

Youngkin still lost the group by roughly 34 points in Virginia, according to a CBS exit poll in November. 

"More and more Republican candidates are doing a better job of targeting the Latino voters through ads, and not just trying to speak Spanish live during events or commercials," said Christian Martinez, who helped lead Youngkin's efforts with Latino voters. 

The ad from Pence also echoes an anti-socialism message by highlighting Cuba and Venezuela, countries under socialist control. The anti-socialism message seems to resonate with American immigrants who have fled socialist regimes — this same tactic was used by House Republicans in 2020 and helped flip seats with heavy Cuban communities in South Florida.

The National Republican Congressional Committee ran a Spanish ad in 2020 in Florida's 26th District that tied then-incumbent Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell to socialism and a vote against "condemning socialism as the root cause of Venezuela."

In that district, Democrats saw an eight-point drop off with Latino voter registration in the Miami-Dade area while Republicans saw a 13-point gain. 

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