White House

Trump campaign likely to choose Florida for rollout of national Hispanic outreach

Brad Parscale, campaign manager for US President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, speaks during a campaign rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, October 22, 2018.
Brad Parscale, campaign manager for US President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, speaks during a campaign rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, October 22, 2018. AFP/Getty Images

The Trump campaign is likely to choose Florida as the launchpad for a national Hispanic voter outreach operation this summer, campaign manager Brad Parscale said Thursday night in Miami.

Appearing in Little Havana for a Miami Young Republicans fundraiser, Parscale talked up the president’s standing with Latino voters and said the campaign is on the verge of rolling out a national “Latino coalition.” He said details of a launch aren’t yet set, but he wants to set the operation off soon in the country’s largest swing state.

“Our first coalition we’re launching for the 2020 campaign, and our largest coalition — itself almost as large an organization as our 2015 primary team — is gonna be for Latinos,” Parscale told reporters at the Miami Dade College Koubek Center prior to a closed-door event. “It’s not been finalized yet, but my goal is to launch the Latino coalition in Florida.”

Democrats have expected Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration rhetoric, apparent lack of sympathy for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico and unwillingness to condemn white nationalism to keep his numbers down with Hispanic voters. But, without going into detail, Parscale said the clearest trend among internal polls conducted in 2019 is that Trump’s actions have made in-roads with Hispanic voters.

A McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted in late March before Robert Mueller turned over his report on Russian elections interference found that half of Hispanic voters believed Trump was performing well as president. Polling subsets are less reliable — a point critics made when Trump touted his numbers with Hispanics back in January — but Parscale said the trend has held in smaller internal polls.

Hispanic voters, while incredibly diverse in background and politics, tend to vote Democratic. But Trump has made strong overtures to Cubans and Venezuelans in South Florida, and a key ally, Gov. Ron DeSantis, performed better than the president in Florida with Hispanic voters in 2018 despite embracing the same immigration rhetoric.

Any edge the Trump campaign can get with Latinos could help him carry the state again in 2020, when Hispanics will turn out in greater numbers and Florida could prove to be the deciding contest.

“We’re going to be fighting that on the Spanish channels. We’re going to be fighting that in the neighborhoods,” Parscale said.

As an incumbent, Trump should at the very least have more support on local airwaves than he did in 2016, particularly Spanish-language stations. Parscale said the campaign’s success with digital ads three years ago won’t translate into less of an investment on TV, but said he does expect to put more focus on local airwaves where messages can be tailored to specific audiences.

“If you look at the campaign and where I’m focusing on media, it’s much more regional,” Parscale said. “This time I want to build platoons of people to be on local TV.”

Parscale’s visit to Miami was at least his fourth stop in Florida this month, following visits to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and the Orlando area. He said the state remains a key battleground for Trump.

“We’re out in the lead right now with money, organization, in every way,” he said. “It’s a must-win state.”