Grassroots organizers and activists with the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania (HRCP) recently gathered in Harrisburg meet with legislators and hold a fundraiser. Their message: Latino voters are willing to vote GOP but the party has to GOTV. (Get Out The Vote)
“It was very successful,” said Chair Jennie Dallas, a business owner from Dauphin County. Members from around the state attended.
“The amount of support our organization has received in Harrisburg from our elected representatives and state senators is overwhelming,” Dallas said. “Our coalition is energized and excited to move forward vigorously to win over Hispanic voters in the state of Pennsylvania, a group that Republicans must engage in order to win elections locally and statewide. We are proud to have elected officials like Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, Sen. David Argall, Sen. Scott Martin, Sen. Ryan Aument, state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, as well as a number of other elected officials and candidates for office who are supporting our movement.”
Ward spoke to the gathering, and Argall received an award for his leadership and support of efforts to appeal to Hispanic communities in Pennsylvania.
“With more Latinos calling Pennsylvania home, it is important that we work alongside the Latino community, as they are the fastest growing population in the commonwealth,” said Ward (R-Westmoreland).
Argall (R-Carbon/Luzerne/Schuylkill), who chairs the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee, said, “We, as Republicans, need to reach out to all people. If we truly want to represent everyone, this is an important constituency that deserves our attention and support. I’m honored to receive the award from the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania.”
During the 2022 election cycle, the coalition was the only group to run radio and billboard ads in Spanish to support the Republican ticket, spending in the high five figures, said Albert Eisenberg, a political strategist with BlueStateRed, who is working with the HRCP.
“Hispanic voters in Pennsylvania are crying out to hear a GOP message as they are facing the reality of Democratic rule in communities across the commonwealth (including) increases in petty and violent crime in their communities, stagnation in public schools and weird social issues injected into the classroom, and stalling economic opportunity,” said Eisenberg. “The Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania is doing the work that the GOP has needed to do for decades, and we are proud of our growing support at both the grassroots and elected levels.”
The Spanish language ads ran in the most heavily Hispanic regions in the state, including parts of Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley. Areas where the ads ran were the “only areas [in the state] that did not shift to the Left,” said Eisenberg.
In recent years, many Hispanics have moved from New York and settled in parts of Pennsylvania, especially the Lehigh Valley, where crime is lower, and there are jobs in logistics and agriculture.
He noted that the values of the Republican party, including patriotism, prosperity, strong families, and the American dream, resonate with Hispanics.
Republicans just need to reach out to them, he said.
“These are working-class voters who’ve been left behind by the Democrats and haven’t heard from Republicans yet,” he said. Republican ideas are “really compelling to conservative-leaning people and will bring them to the table.”
Dallas agreed, saying that grassroots volunteers will be doing just that this year, “working our grassroots,” talking to and registering Hispanic voters.
She added, “Our biggest focus will be n our grassroots and building our volunteer base.”
The Hispanic voting trend toward the GOP is a nationwide phenomenon, with former President Donald Trump winning 29 percent of Hispanic voters in 2016 and 32 percent in 2020, although the majority of Latino voters remain Democrats. And last year Mayra Flores (R-Texas) because the first Republican to win a Congressional seat in the Rio Grande Valley in 151 years. She is also the first Mexican-born woman in Congress.
“The future of the Republican Party was pictured at our event: a diverse, working-class party that reaches regular people across Pennsylvania and responds to their needs,” Eisenberg said. “I could not be more excited and proud to ‘be the change’ in conceiving and launching this group last year and continuing the needed work in the cycles ahead.”
“We’re trying to create infrastructure that doesn’t exist in the state, but exists in Florida and Texas, to flip the state House back,” said Eisenberg. Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House.
“It’s really needed. If we can get the word out, we can do a lot in 2023 and ’24,” he added.