TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With voting already underway for Florida’s primary election on Tuesday, some politicians are catering their messages to Latino and Hispanic voters based on where they are from.
The strategy is not new, but political analysts say the strategy is becoming more widespread—and effective.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump released several ads utilizing this strategy, including one that tried to link his then-opponent, now-President Joe Biden, to Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
Experts say it’s a strategy intended to court Hispanic voters who came to the U.S. from communist or socialist countries. It seemed to have worked well. Trump won Florida by 3.3% over Biden, a wide margin in a state known for razor-thin elections for federal office.
More politicians are using specific messaging to “microtarget” certain voters and are sure to highlight certain issues.
“For example, securing our border,” said State Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Republican who is running for a seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. “I think it resonates very well with people, especially a Hispanic like me, who came to this country legally, that we see illegal immigration.”
A political consultant for Nikki Fried, Democratic candidate for governor, says Democrats are also utilizing the strategy. Some better than others.
“I’ve been working with the diaspora communities and messaging to the diaspora communities for 20 years, and honestly I have never seen a campaign do what Nikki has done,” Fried’s consultant said.
The other Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, proposed an Office for New Floridians should he be elected, to help people “from Boston or Bogotá” get settled in the Sunshine State.
“Our campaign has been centering the Hispanic community since day one of this race,” said Crist campaign spokesperson Samantha Ramirez. “Our state’s diversity is our strength, and we are working to build a Florida that works for all Floridians; that includes people of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican, Venezuelan, and many other descents. They care about the same issues everyone else does, lower costs, better schools, safe communities, a clean environment and access to affordable health care.”
Time is running out for candidates to make their final pitch to all voters. Primary Election Day in Florida is Tuesday, Aug. 23.