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Home | Tag Archives: Super Tuesday

Tag Archives: Super Tuesday

Bloomberg, Sanders push for El Paso votes ahead of Super Tuesday primary

On a sunny, breezy day, Taylor Sanchez knocks on doors in a neighborhood on El Paso’s west side, campaigning for presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. Most of those answering the door have seen the flood of campaign ads airing on local television. Her mission now is getting people to the polls.

“El Paso doesn’t vote and we lack a lot of representation,” Sanchez said.

At a rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Downtown El Paso, Victor Gonzalez had the same goal: galvanize people to vote, especially young people like him.

“Unfortunately, young voters, people around my age, don’t go out to vote because they don’t find it interesting,” he said. “I don’t believe in that because every vote matters. Every vote is your voice on an issue.”

In this tight Democratic primary race presidential candidates are going after every vote in El Paso, a Democratic stronghold on the edge of Texas.

The effort to lure voters to the polls includes a nonstop blitz of television ads as well as help from local surrogates like Sanchez and Gonzalez, who urge fellow voters to flex their muscle at the ballot box.

Ahead of the Super Tuesday primary two Democratic presidential candidates, frontrunner Sanders and Bloomberg, are spending big money and making personal appeals in television ads and in person at rallies in El Paso. Bloomberg has far outspent his rivals.

Across Texas, the billionaire accounts for roughly 80 percent of the $26 million spent on TV spots tracked by Advertising Analytics cited in several media reports. The spending spree has especially benefited Spanish-language television with an estimated $4.3 million spent on ads airing statewide.

In El Paso alone, Bloomberg has spent more than $1.9 million, according to records TV stations and cable companies are required to file with the Federal Communication Commission. Sanders comes in second in terms of campaign ads at more than $170,000. Both men earmarked a third of their television ad budgets in El Paso for Spanish language television during February.

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer spent about $39,000 on El Paso ads in November and December, and Pete Buttigieg spent about $59,000 for the last few days ahead of the March 3 primary.

Other Democratic candidates, focused on Saturday’s South Carolina caucus and other areas participating in the March 3 Super Tuesday primary, have not devoted significant effort in El Paso.

The attention from some Democratic presidential candidates is welcomed by many voters in a city that’s been a focal point of the Trump administration’s border enforcement policies, as well as the August 3 mass shooting that targeted Hispanics and Mexicans.

“We’re getting some attention finally, the attention that we do deserve,” said Uriel Posada, regional news director of a territory that includes Spanish language stations that stretch from San Angelo to Midland to El Paso and beyond to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Bloomberg has spent more than $370,000 alone at Channel 26, the El Paso Univision affiliate. “If we ever flex our muscle, elections can change,” Posada said.

The station, along with other Univision affiliates, has a campaign that urges people to become citizens, register to vote and cast ballots – without promoting any particular candidates. Increasing turnout means engaging voters, Posada said.

Name recognition is also powerful and Bloomberg is banking on that strategy. Posada has seen the influence firsthand in his own family.

“I was talking to my mom. This is going to be the second election she’s going to vote in. She’s thinking about voting for Bloomberg,” Posada said. He told her, “Wait, hold on. You can vote for whoever you want but you have to learn what the other candidates are thinking and are proposing.”

Both Bloomberg and Sanders held campaign rallies in El Paso. Both candidates also paid their respects to the victims of the Walmart shooting by visiting the site of the massacre.

Bloomberg launched his Latino initiative in El Paso. During his recent campaign stop in El Paso Sanders gave his one local interview to a reporter at Posada’s Spanish-language station.

Victor Gomez, 20, a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign, talked about the Democratic presidential candidate’s record and encouraged people waiting in line to enter the Sanders rally to head to a nearby polling place to vote after the event. (Angela Kocherga/El Paso Matters)

The recent Sanders’ rally in El Paso drew a large, enthusiastic crowd of young Latino supporters, including Nubia Laguarda, who listened to live music blaring on speakers as she waited in line to get into the rally venue.

“I think what is special about Bernie is he does move people to come out and vote,” she said.

But attending a rally is one thing, voting is another and campaign volunteer Gonzalez wasn’t taking any chances. Armed with a clipboard he took advantage of the time people spent waiting in line outside to tout Sanders record and make sure they were registered to vote. He told young voters to join a march after the rally to the nearest early voting polling place, the El Paso county courthouse.

Sanders also urged El Pasoans not to sit on the sidelines this election year. “Your vote is your power,” Sanders boomed. “Not good enough to complain that your earning starvation wages, not good enough to complain you can’t afford housing, not good enough to complain about racism or sexism or xenophobia. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to get involved in the political process.”

After the Saturday afternoon rally, the march to the polling place did not materialize. But several small groups of voters were motivated to head to the county courthouse to vote.

“That’s exactly what I’m doing, yeah,” said Adrian Ordoñez, 27 as he stood outside near the Bernie T-shirt stands chatting with 18-year old Dominque Martinez.

Martinez is excited to be voting for the first time but said he understands why some of his friends don’t participate. He said tells them, “your feelings are valid because if you spend your whole life being told to stay in your place and that you don’t know better. But definitely do it (vote) because it’s the first step to start speaking up for yourself.”

Graphic by El Paso Matters

Engaging young voters is a challenge. Most campaigns reach out to people who have voted in the past and may fail to reach newly registered or first time voters including naturalized citizens. In El Paso, one in five people eligible to cast votes in the 2020 primary registered after the November 2016 presidential election.

“I think one of the biggest links is someone knocking on your door, is someone coming to you, explaining why you should register, the policy issues for which you should be concerned about and connecting with those voters,” said Stephen Nuño, senior policy analyst with Latino Decisions, a national research and political opinion firm.

“Latinos are very young. Places like California, Arizona and Texas, the median Latino voter is less than 25 years old,” said Nuño.

The biggest challenge for voters Super Tuesday may be the crowded field of Democratic candidates. Many of those Bloomberg campaign worker Sanchez talked to while door-knocking were undecided. So were some of those leaving the Sanders rally.

“My name is actually Bernie,” said Bernie Morales, 39. But he was not ready to vote for Sanders yet. “I’ll see what everybody else has to say. He said he was also considering Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg.

His companion Edith Blanco, 40, had narrowed it down to two choices. “My top two candidates are Bernie and Pete.”

Author: Angela Kocherga – El Paso Matters

Presidential candidates turn their focus to Texas, as early voting begins

Bernie Sanders wasted little time Friday night at a Dallas-area rally getting to what he said would be a “dramatic announcement.”

“We’re gonna win the state of Texas,” he declared, setting off raucous cheers.

“Yeah, we will,” he added nonchalantly seconds later.

While none of Sanders’ primary rivals has exuded as much confidence ahead of the March 3 primary, several others clearly see opportunity in the delegate-rich state — and are acting accordingly as early voting begins Tuesday. Still, the primary here remains somewhat in flux as campaigns gauge just how seriously to make a homestretch push in the massive, resource-intensive state, one of over a dozen that vote on Super Tuesday. To top it all off, early voting begins in Texas before Nevada or South Carolina even vote, meaning the state of the overall primary could be dramatically different by election day in Texas.

“I think a lot of this is going to have to do with momentum,” said one of the candidates, California billionaire Tom Steyer, who predicted he would come out of Nevada and South Carolina “with a lot of momentum” and with a “diverse coalition” that will position him well for a state like Texas.

“The state of the presidential race in Texas is fluid,” added state Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Carrollton, who sees her candidate, Michael Bloomberg, on more of an upswing in the state than anybody else as he builds an unparalleled operation here.

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll of the state’s primary, released Friday, found Sanders and Joe Biden statistically tied after months of Biden leading most surveys here. Bloomberg was fourth, with 10%, behind Elizabeth Warren, at 15%.

There are 261 delegates up for grabs in Texas, allocated based on the results of the statewide vote and in 31 state Senate districts. The bluer the district, the more delegates at play — as many as 10, which is how many are available in Sen. Kirk Watson’s Austin-based district. A candidate must clear 15% of the vote in a district to be eligible for its delegates, and the same threshold applies to the statewide delegates.

Texas appears increasingly important for the former vice president, whose campaign is eager to show he can break through in more diverse states after disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“They remain bullish about Texas, I remain bullish about Texas,” said Biden supporter Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Collier added that he thought there was “no surprise” in the first two states and that it was natural for the Texas polls to tighten as the campaign heats up.

Biden has staff on the ground in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, according to his campaign, and it has offices in those first three cities. Biden also has the most impressive endorsement list in the state, to which he is adding state Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins on Tuesday. In a statement first shared with The Texas Tribune, the San Antonio lawmaker said Biden “has always fought for us — and as President, I know he will continue the fight to ensure that all Texans have the same economic and educational opportunities regardless of race, gender, or ZIP code.”

Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont, has moved briskly in recent weeks to beef up his Texas presence after winning the popular vote in Iowa and prevailing in New Hampshire. He now has five offices and 10 staffers in Texas, and his campaign is on TV as part of a $5.5 million ad buy across the Super Tuesday states. That makes him the only Democratic candidate other than Bloomberg who has been airing TV ads in Texas.

Undoubtedly looming large is the former New York City mayor, who is skipping the first four states on the nominating calendar and effectively beginning his campaign in the Super Tuesday states. While saturating Texas with eight figures worth of spending in TV ads, he has built easily the biggest campaign here, opening 17 offices — with two more on the way — and amassing a 160-person staff.

Also, Bloomberg himself has been to Texas five times since launching his campaign in late November, easily more than any other candidate over the same period.

Bloomberg’s priority focus on Texas has won over several important endorsers, including Johnson. She said Bloomberg’s commitment to keeping his Texas infrastructure in place through the general election “was significant to me,” calling his effort in the state “not just a three-week splash and out.”

Asked about another candidate who has vowed to help put Texas in play as the nominee, Johnson said, “Bloomberg’s actually doing it and Biden’s just talking about it.”

Long before Bloomberg swept into the state, though, at least one candidate made Texas an early priority: Elizabeth Warren. The U.S. senator from Massachusetts has had people on the ground since August, and her campaign says it has dozens of staffers and organizers across 14 cities. It has four offices open.

While Warren herself has not visited Texas since September, her campaign sent surrogates on a five-city “Latino community engagement tour” that wrapped up Saturday.

“I see a lot of enthusiasm for Sen. Warren,” said Julián Castro, the former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor who ended his own presidential run last month and quickly endorsed Warren. “Her campaign has been organizing for several months in Texas. They’re not taking any vote for granted in Texas and also reaching out to the Latino community, to the black community, so her campaign is putting in the work here in Texas to have a good showing, and I’m confident that she can do well on March 3.”

Then there are some candidates who are truly playing catch-up in the state, making their first serious moves here in recent days. Steyer opened his first Texas office Thursday in Houston and is planning to open a Dallas office later this week. Pete Buttigieg sent 24 staffers to Texas starting Monday, following his top-two finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. And the campaign of Amy Klobuchar, who is scrambling to scale up after beating expectations with a third-place finish in the Granite State, announced Sunday that her campaign “will have … staff on the ground in every Super Tuesday state,” but did not provide further details.

Over the weekend, Klobuchar won the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle, the newspaper in the state’s biggest city.

In an interview, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa acknowledged that candidates like Klobuchar could do well in Texas given the momentum they are building elsewhere, but he voiced skepticism of any campaign that is just now investing in the huge state.

“Unless you are willing to spend $30 million flooding the airwaves, it’s very, very difficult to have an additional impact than what you’ve already got,” Hinojosa said. “You cannot organize and you cannot put together a machine to pull out the vote for a candidate in a week or a month even.”

When it comes to endorsements, Biden has long led the way in Texas, accruing the support of dozens of members of Congress, state lawmakers and major county and city officials, with support particularly concentrated in South Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But Warren has also been able to put together a respectable endorsement list, and Bloomberg has been making considerable inroads, landing his biggest Texas nod yet last week, when he got the support of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Both Texans who had run for president earlier this cycle — Castro and Beto O’Rourke — are playing distinctly different roles as the primary nears. Castro has endorsed Warren and emerged as a highly active surrogate for her. O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman, has said he does not plan to endorse before the primary, which a spokesperson reiterated Friday. (He has, however, been himself available to candidates seeking advice about Texas and he showed up at a Bloomberg event late last month in El Paso.)

Like many Democrats nationwide, Texas Democrats are highly focused on who can beat President Donald Trump. But in a traditionally Republican state that is getting more competitive, state Democrats are also looking for a nominee who can lead a robust down-ballot effort in November — or be a “party builder,” as Collier said in promoting Biden.

Before Bloomberg came along, Biden was making the most overt appeals to Texas Democrats’ general-election hopes. And along with Warren, Biden and Bloomberg sought to prove their down-ballot commitment by weighing in last month on a nationally targeted special election runoff for a Texas House seat that Democrats were hoping to flip. The Democrats’ efforts fell well short — Republican Gary Gates won by 16 percentage points.

Sanders and Warren have taken their down-ballot involvement a step further, looking to burnish their progressive credentials by endorsing a few prominent primary challengers across the state. Those include Jessica Cisneros, who is running against U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and José Garza, who is taking on Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.

Now, with two weeks until election day, the candidates are getting more opportunities to take their long-building Texas courtship directly to the voters.

On Saturday, Sanders and Steyer participated via video conference in a forum in Pasadena put on by Jolt, a group focused on mobilizing Latino youth. Biden, Klobuchar and Warren sent surrogates.

A few days earlier at the Harris County party’s annual Johnson, Rayburn, Richards Dinner in Houston, some of the central tension of the primary was on full display. Bloomberg was the first headliner to speak, and he was interrupted twice by hecklers, including at least one objecting to the stop-and-frisk policy that Bloomberg pushed as mayor but apologized for days prior to announcing his White House bid. Bloomberg then headed to another event in Houston — the launch of “Mike for Black America” — where he and Turner used their remarks to address the recent uproar over stop and frisk.

Meanwhile, back at the dinner, another headliner, Castro, took the stage and made a passionate pitch for Warren — and while he did not directly mention Bloomberg, there was little doubt he had the billionaire on his mind. In his speech, Castro acknowledged that Democrats’ number one priority is defeating Trump, but he sought to remind primary voters that they have choices for who will best represent their values in the general election.

“Having said that,” Castro said after a pause, “I also want to commend the folks that spoke up about stop and frisk earlier tonight.”

Author: PATRICK SVITEKThe Texas Tribune

The Wondering Latina: Celebrating Super Tuesday with EP Democrats

Tuesday night – Super Tuesday – was one of the biggest nights in politics; when the largest number of states hold their primary elections. After surfing the web, I found the location of the Democratic Party of El Paso’s watch party, so I decided to check things out.

I walked in and the place was packed, everyone had gathered at the chic Westside locale Brass Monkey and was ready to cheer on the El Paso Democratic Party’s officially endorsed presidential candidate,  Hillary Clinton.

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As I began to meet people, I bumped into Iliana Holguin who, moments earlier, had just been elected as the Democratic Party Chair!

I spoke with Iliana and asked her20160301_204856 what her vision was for the future of the El Paso Democratic Party, she replied “we need to get more people engaged and interested, there’s a lot of complaints of what people want to change but if we don’t get out there, then nothing is going to change in El Paso”

Later I had the pleasure of meeting Larry John Porras, Political Director for State Rep.  Cesar Blanco who joined us from Austin.

I was fascinated to hear his story. Born and raised in Valentine,  went on to Texas Tech and it would be a chance meeting with a stranger that would inspire him to pursue politics. He had a conversation with a young woman one night who told him her story of going from being homeless to attending Harvard (yes, her, the girl they made the movie about!)

He said that one conversation changed the course of his life, he decided to take a chance and really go for it, enter the world of politics.

The gamble paid off, he would go on to become the Regional Director in Ohio for President Obama’s 2008 campaign,  then go on the serve Congressman Pete Gallego and now with State Rep Blanco.

See! Always talk to people at parties, you never know who will inspire you!

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Feeling completely motivated by my conversation with Director Porras, I continued making my way through the room. I wanted to hear from the volunteers in the room, the ones who make all this happen behind the scenes.

Needless to say, one of the biggest supporters or should I say brightest, was there among us. Gretchen Baer, better known as the “Hillary Car” lady, came all the way from Bisbee, AZ to join the El Paso grassroots watch party.

You may have spotted her “hillcar” around town, she and her husband have been Hillary supporters since 2008. What started off as a side art project eventually was noticed by Secretary Clinton herself!

photo by: Gretchen Baer

After meeting the Clintons, in 2008, Gretchen actually was able to go on the road with the Clinton campaign. “I didn’t do it as a political statement, I did it to bring fun and color for kids and moms and all people to enjoy, to make the campaign fun.”

I noticed the car says “Madame Secretary,” I asked her what will she do if Hillary wins the presidency and the name needs to be changed, to which she replied “well I have been thinking creating a new piece with an RV.”

There’s plenty of time from here to November so keep an eye out for “Madame President” the RV, out on the roads!

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There was so much support out there, there was a book circulating that has been gathering signatures over the campaign and at the end they will send it as gift to Secretary Clinton on behalf of El Paso Democrats.

There was a cake and buttons made, all donated by volunteers time and funds. This kind of support must take a lot of time, so I made it my

photo by Javier Aaron Paz
photo by Javier Aaron Paz

mission to find and talk to the man that helps bring all this together, Javier Aaron Paz, a man who wears many hats, teacher at Coronado, Chair for Precinct 5 and the head of the Hillary Grassroots Campaign for El Paso.

Javier, has a long history with the Democratic process, having campaigned in Iowa for the 2008 election, he then had the honor to also serve as a National Delegate, which he will be reprising his duty again at this year’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia,  where he will be 1 of 4 El Pasoans chosen to represent the Sun City.

I asked him what made him want to get involved in the process all those years ago,

Photo by: Javier Aaron Paz
Photo by: Javier Aaron Paz

” I love America, I love my country and I knew since 2008, that I wanted to be a part of the election, I wanted to do my part to support Hillary, all the way to the White House” – Javier Aaron Paz

I left feeling a brand new air of hope for El Paso, so many people gathering to make positive changes, not only for the city but to bring the spotlight to El Paso on a national level.

As Chairwoman Iliana Holguin told me, “people need to see, El Paso is relevant. We are a big deal to politics and we need to make sure people start to take notice of us.”

YAS!!! I’m with you chairwoman, as I have often said, El Paso is a special place unlike any other…and that goes for our politics too.

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