THORNTON, Colo.—Republicans are eyeing Hispanic voters to flip Colorado red and investing tremendous resources to tip a once-reliably blue voting bloc to their side.
On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee opened its first ever Hispanic Outreach Center in Colorado, situated just north of Denver in Colorado's newly drawn eighth congressional district. Considered a toss up between the two parties this November, the district holds the largest share of Hispanic voters in the state at 38 percent.
Vera Ortegon, the national party's Colorado committeewoman, said traditional Hispanic values seamlessly map onto the Republican Party’s November agenda. Ultimately, Ortegon said, Hispanic voters care about the same thing as all other voters: high inflation, crime, and good schools.
"We want to have the opportunity to pursue the American dream. This is what our politics are really about," she said. "We are the Republican Party. We are members of the big tent. We have minorities on our minds."
The opening of the outreach center signals just how seriously—and aggressively—the Republican Party is courting Hispanic voters this November. Opinion polling regularly shows Hispanics giving President Joe Biden low approval ratings. Republicans in recent years, such as former president Donald Trump, have boasted the highest share of the Hispanic vote in generations.
Hispanics make up roughly 20 percent of Colorado's population and could prove decisive over who wins the state’s hotly contested Senate election between the incumbent Michael Bennet (D.) and Republican businessman Joe O’Dea. A large majority of Hispanics in Colorado, 63 percent, believe the United States is on "the wrong track," according to a recent poll. That same poll found that only 40 percent of Hispanic respondents say they believe the Democratic Party "would be best at addressing issues they’re concerned about."
"This center is part of our party’s commitment to building relationships with the Hispanic American community. We are here for the long term," RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said of the Colorado center’s opening. "Democrats take Hispanic voters for granted and we want to earn every single vote."
Winning Hispanic voters is a critical component of the Republican Party’s electoral strategy. Over a third of the House districts targeted by Republicans this cycle have a Hispanic population greater than 15 percent.
The RNC has opened 38 community centers across the country ahead of the midterm elections. Nineteen of those community centers are specifically targeted at Hispanics.
Millions of dollars have been invested in the centers, which are located in minority neighborhoods in states including Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
In the last midterm election in 2018, Democrats won Hispanic voters by 47 points. These centers, along with the Republican Party’s efforts to recruit more diverse candidates, are meant to reverse that trend. In recent months, the Republican Party has seen positive signs—Republican congresswoman Mayra Flores (R., Texas) won a June special election battle in a majority-Hispanic district that voted for Biden by 4 points.