Hispanic Lawmakers Using Their Clout

Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff (Mar. 25, 2013)


The growing clout of Latino donors and voters has quietly boosted the fortunes of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has gained members, political leverage and fundraising power in the 113th Congress.

Through its increasingly lucrative political action committee, known as BOLD PAC, the caucus helped elect nine more Latinos to the House in November, growing the membership of the all-Democratic caucus to 27. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tapped a pair of caucus members to cultivate Latino candidates and donors and leading caucus members are also in the thick of immigration overhaul negotiations on Capitol Hill.

“In many ways they’re the vanguard of this growing power,” said Albert Jacquez, director of legislative, congressional and political affairs at the National Council of LaRaza. Hispanics accounted for a record 10 percent of voters on Election Day, according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, and the number of eligible Latino voters is expected to explode from 23.7 million now to 40 million by 2030.

“I would anticipate that Hispanics would be a big part of the numbers that it will take for Democrats to take back the House,” said Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., chairman of BOLD PAC. (The acronym stands for Building Our Leadership Through Diversity.) The PAC spent $844,000 on the 2012 elections, more than twice its spending in the 2008 cycle, when Democrats were in the majority.

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