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Groups Beginning Work to Mobilize Latino Vote

Groups are revving up efforts to turn out Latinos for the mid-term elections hoping they can make a difference in a few races.
Sun Valley residents vote at the polling station located at Our Lady of The Holy Church on election day at the Sun Valley's Latino district, Los Angeles County, on November 6, 2012 in California.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)JOE KLAMAR / AFP/Getty Images

A coalition of immigration advocates is dividing political candidates into “family uniters” and “family dividers” as it seeks to mobilize Latino voters for the midterm elections in November.

Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of immigration advocacy groups, is starting with candidates in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and New York.

They are defining “family uniters” as those who support immigration reform to keep families together in the U.S. while they seek to become U.S. citizens. The family dividers are identified as those “who have embraced policies of deportations, family separations and other cruel and inhumane legislation.”

“These groups will be out in full force from now until the November elections making sure Latino and immigrant voters know who are on their side and who is vehemently opposed to immigration reform,” said Kika Matos, FIRM spokeswoman.

The “family uniters” named by the group are Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.; Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich, who is running for Senate and Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-N.Y.

The “family dividers” named by the group are Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican representative from California; Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, both Colorado Republicans and Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.

Meanwhile in Texas, the Texas Organizing Project has launched efforts in Dallas and Houston and soon in San Antonio to turn out low propensity Latino and African-American voters. The group is backing the election of Wendy Davis, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio who is running for lieutenant governor. The group is targeting more than 300,000 voters, about 55 percent of whom are Latino.

As is the case for all voters in general, Latino turnout is lower in the elections for members of Congress and Senate during the middle of a sitting president's term, or the midterm elections. But Latino voter turnout in midterms general is even lower than most other groups. The effect of the Latino vote is further limited by how districts have been drawn for House and Senate seats. Latinos, who tend to vote Democrat, can have an impact in just a few of the competitive congressional elections this year.