Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Romanoff Courts Latinos Crucial to Colorado Race

Romanoff Courts Latinos Crucial to Colorado Race

Romanoff, left, toured the theater that caters to the Latino community. Becerra joined the Democratic House candidate on the campaign trail. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Aurora, Colo. — Outside the Cinema Latino as he campaigned against Rep. Mike Coffman, Democratic House hopeful Andrew Romanoff outlines his strategy for winning over Hispanic voters critical to his chances in the Nov. 4 contest.

Romanoff told CQ Roll Call he is optimistic turnout will be high, thanks in part to a state law passed last year to allow same-day registration and voting, as well as a requirement every voters is automatically sent mail-in ballots.

Romanoff Courts Latinos Crucial to Colorado Race

“Those two things — universal mail-in balloting, Election Day registration — will increase turnout and that’s good not just for my campaign…but I think for democracy,” said Romanoff, the former state house speaker.

To win here, Democrats need Latinos to vote. Romanoff, who speaks fluent Spanish, has been trying to win over the community as he battles Coffman in a race The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rate a Tossup.

That’s one reason why on this summer day his campaign has reached out Cinema Latino’s management team for a tour. He lauded the business owners as working to “maximize their connection to the community.” Romanoff has visited a few dozen small- and medium-sized businesses as he tries to win over voters in the 6th District in the central part of the Centennial State.

Immigration has been among the race’s leading issues since the 6th District was redrawn after the 2010 election and now includes more Democrats and Latinos. It was the first issue discussed in a debate between Coffman and Romanoff two weeks ago.

“We’ve got to secure our border and enforce our laws,” Coffman said, according to a report by Fox 31 Denver. “But I think we also need to be compassionate in keeping families together.”

Joining Romanoff for the stop was Xavier Becerra, an ambitious member of the House Democratic Caucus using recess to help candidates who would add to the party’s ranks. It’s no secret that voters show up in smaller numbers during midterm elections, which means Democrats must energize their base and this critical voting bloc, which comprises about 20 percent of the district.

Becerra said engaging those voters is about more than immigration policy.

“It translates precisely over into politics because people think if you want to get the Latino vote, you’ve got to talk about immigration, you’ve got to talk about bilingual education,” Becerra said. “No the reality is you’ve got to talk about jobs, good schools, decent health care.”

That story plays out at this theater: Louis Sullivan Olmos of Sonora Entertainment, which runs the theater, noted that “Transformers” was a bigger hit than “A Better Life,” staring Demian Bechir, a film about an issue that remains culturally relevant.

“Movies that used to deal with immigration and coming across the border … ten years ago it was an easy sell. Nowadays, it’s an every day story, people don’t come any more for it,” he said.

 

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