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LULAC Hits Goal of 10,000 Iowa Latinos Pledging to Caucus

by Suzanne Gamboa /

Leaders of a group that has been trying to increase Latino participation in Iowa's caucuses said Monday they hit their goal of getting at least 10,000 Latinos to pledge to participate.

Joe Enriquez Henry, LULAC's national vice president for the Midwest region, was upbeat when reached by NBC News Latino Monday morning as LULAC Iowa made its final push to get Latinos out to the first-in-the-nation caucus for their choices of presidential nominees.

While the state may not decide the presidential nominees, it can create momentum for candidates and winnows the field.

"It's going crazy over here. We're working phone lines, walking neighborhoods. People are calling us," said Enriquez Henry from Des Moines. "We've reached our goal of 10,000" pledges, he said.

How many Latinos actually keep their pledges won't be known by the end of Monday night, but LULAC and its organizers planned to monitor the precinct caucuses to get a sense of how many Latinos show up. In 2008, campaign staff for then candidate Barack Obama turned out about 3,500 Latinos, so if LULAC falls short but manages to get 7,000 it would double Latino turnout. Despite the forecast of a coming blizzard, organizers were hopeful.

"The day is beautiful and the sun is out and the snow doesn't arrive until 6 a.m. (Tuesday)," Enriquez Henry said.

Another Latino organization, Voto Latino, added star power to the push Monday with a message from actor America Ferrera urging Latinos to turn out and explaining the caucus process.

Related: Iowa Latinos Get Ready to Caucus and Boost Political Presence

LULAC has staged the campaign with about $200,000 in spending and a staff of five, along with many volunteers. It has recruited both Republican and Democrat Latino registered voters to turn out.

"We've invited ourselves to this caucus effort and people are excited about it, they really are," Enriquez Henry said.

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