WASHINGTON -- The steps are not the stuff of news headlines, but, bit by bit, a political group working to put more Latinos in office is setting up for battle.
Last week, Latino Victory named new members of its board and national committee. Among them are the likes of New York political consultant Luis Miranda, father of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda; actor Ana Ortiz, known for her role as Betty’s sister in the TV series "Ugly Betty" and Julissa Arce,an immigrant rights advocate and former Goldman Sachs executive who started worked in Wall Street while she was still undocumented.
The announcement is more than a personnel move. It’s a refueling, post 2016, as the group revs up for 2018 elections and accelerates into 2020.
“Given this Trump era we are in, the political calendar has shifted earlier,” said Cristóbal Alex, president of Latino Victory.
The group shed its bipartisan cloak days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration and embraced its progressive tendencies and Democratic strain.
It's working to set up in Georgia, Arizona, Florida and Nevada and set in motion its recruitment of and campaign support for Latino progressives and progressives who will back policies Latino Victory considers beneficial to the Latino community.
The group is “looking carefully” at the Virginia gubernatorial race, a November contest between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie. It also is studying the candidacy of Annette Taddeo who will vie in September for a Florida state Senate seat.
Latino Victory's political action committee, Latino Victory Fund, has put money into a campaign – “Run, Veronica, Run” – to urge El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar to run for the congressional seat now held by Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who plans to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for his U.S. Senate seat.
“If we are successful in 2018, as I think we will be, we will be even better positioned to influence to help make sure we have a new president that reflects our values, but has a campaign that reflects us as well,” Alex said.
Despite the turmoil in the country, Alex said he’s optimistic about the outcome.
“We are in a challenging spot right now because of the leadership void and because the president has opened up opportunity for Nazis and others to come out freely in the country,” he said. “But when I look at leaders coming up and stepping up around the country, getting into the arena, I feel more and more optimistic about the future.”