PHOENIX — Over coffee, eggs, and orange juice Arizona Democratic leaders sold the Biden Administration’s America Recovery Plan to a group of local Latino business owners. For people like Efrain Fuentes, it was an easy sell.
“We saw a lot of difference between what we saw with Donald Trump and what is happening with Biden,” Fuentes said, “Our community is getting better.”
The general election is still a little more than a year away, but the courting of what will soon become Arizona’s most influential voting block is happening now. Emphasizing shots in arms, checks in people’s pockets, and the child tax credit State Senator Raquel Terán, who also chairs the Arizona Democratic Party, said it is important to let people know the Biden Administration is working for them.
“We need to celebrate every victory. The American rescue plan was a huge victory for our community,” Terán said.
Since 2016 there’s been an erosion of support by Arizona Latinos from the Democratic party. Former President Donald Trump held a Latino business roundtable in Phoenix during the 2020 campaign. It was well attended. Prior to the pandemic, many Latino businesses were crediting the Trump administration for record low unemployment among Latinos and the increasing number of Latina business owners.
“It’s more than just rhetoric,” said Phoenix businessman Moses Sanchez, who participated in the roundtable as Trump’s guest. “What are the actions, what is your local government, state government, and federal government doing that affects you,” Sanchez said.
On election day, exit polling showed the former president received a record 37% of Arizona’s Latino vote.
The 2020 result is not lost on Democrats who attended the breakfast. There is a recognition that as the Latino vote grows, so does the diversity of views of the voter.
“Republicans are more conservative and a lot of the Hispanic population is Catholic. So we can relate to that. Especially when it comes to things like abortion,” said Magaly Saenz, owner of Tres Leches Café near the state capitol.
Issues like abortion and the border may figure prominently in next year’s Governor and U.S. Senate races. Two hot-button issues that may drive Latino voters to the polls and their votes may be the deciding ones. “The Latino vote is growing power and Republicans know what’s at stake and Democrats cannot take our vote for granted,” Terán said.