A conservative leaning Latino outreach group is ramping up its presence in Florida, launching new television ads in support of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, preparing to marshal thousands of volunteers to sway Latino voters toward Republican candidates, and vowing to counter what they call the “liberal Latino left.”
The LIBRE Initiative released a pair of television ads - in both Spanish and English - advocating for Rubio’s re-election and against his Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy.
“We are giving Latino’s for once a choice,” said Daniel Garza, the executive director of The Libre Initiative.
Garza said his group has been building inroads into Latino communities in Florida and elsewhere to promote free market solutions and limited government philosophies. And he said his group has staying power that will last well past election day and have influence for years to come. He said The LIBRE Initiative will be a counter to the “liberal Latino left” including Spanish-speaking media.
“They don’t speak for millions of Latinos,” Garza said.
The LIBRE Initiative was started five years ago with help from the Koch brothers, the billionaire industrialists who have also helped launch Americans for Prosperity. But Garza said the group is not a Koch brothers front group as some have accused it of being.
“I admire them and they are great Americans,” Garza said, noting there are more than 1,500 other donors supporting the group.
The group is trying to make in-roads in a year in which the GOP has been worried about how poorly Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump might do with Latino voters. Some polls have shown him winning less than 20 of that vote - worse than Republican Mitt Romney did four years ago.
Still Garza said it is wrong to write off Latinos as voting just for Democrats. He said his group is addressing jobs, education and health care - issues of great importance to Latino voters but often get overshadowed by talk around immigration issues.
To that point the new ads supporting Rubio don’t mention immigration issues at all. Instead, the ad touts Rubio as a champion of free-market principles.
“Marco Rubio understands our needs,” a narrator declares. “Voting for reform. Lower Taxes. Smarter Spending.”
Here's the group's new ad, which is set to air statewide, according to Garza.