Hispanic Caucus spends big on its candidates

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) leaves the House Chamber following a series of votes regarding veterans on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Greg Nash

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) campaign arm, Bold PAC, is spending big on its endorsed candidates, breaking from a past practice of coordinating its general election spending with Democratic leadership.

Bold PAC is sending a $2.4 million independent expenditure windfall to support its endorsees in the final stretch of the race, upping the group’s outside spending to a record $5.7 million.

Bold PAC historically has used its muscle to support Hispanic candidates in Democratic primaries, donating a large chunk of its general election funds to House Majority PAC (HMP), the campaign arm for Democratic House leadership.

But two things changed this election cycle: Nearly half of Bold PAC’s endorsed candidates are in competitive districts, and one primary pitted the CHC group against leadership.

As Politico first reported, the CHC’s membership could swing by as many as eight seats this election, possibly turning 2022 into a marquee year for Bold PAC, or into the most aggressive contraction of the CHC in the group’s history.

The risk of losing seats hits especially hard in a cycle where HMP is planning to cancel ad reservations in support of Democratic House nominee Michelle Vallejo in a tight South Texas race, according to a report by Axios.

“Latinos will be instrumental in the midterm elections and our mission to support Latino candidates is more critical than ever before. Over the past several cycles, BOLD PAC has built its capacity to invest directly in Latino candidates and be decisive players in major races across the country,” said Bold PAC Chairman Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz).

It’s unclear whether Bold PAC intended to donate a big chunk of money to HMP this cycle — in 2016, it donated $1.1 million; in 2018, $2 million; and in 2020, nearly $2.5 million.

The two groups butted heads in a massively expensive Oregon primary where HMP sided with a cryptocurrency-backed candidate and Bold PAC supported Andrea Salinas, a local legislator who won the Democratic nomination despite being outspent 13-to-1.

Bold PAC historically has made large donations to other campaign organizations, like Latino Victory Fund. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission numbers, Bold PAC has not made any large transfers to other groups this election cycle.

While Bold PAC and HMP butted heads in the primaries, the new spending strategy doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a deeper rift between the groups.

“House Majority PAC is proud to be working hand in hand with CHC BOLD PAC this year in key races across the country, as we have in previous cycles — and we look forward to continuing our important work with them to support Latino candidates and engage with Latino communities in order to secure a Democratic House Majority in 2022,” said HMP Executive Director Abby Curran Horrell.

Still, the new strategy has given Bold PAC liquidity to support candidates like Salinas, Vallejo and others, who could reshape the CHC in the coming Congress.

“Now, we’re doubling down on those efforts in the final midterm stretch. We’ve already played major roles in historic wins this cycle with Maxwell Frost, Robert Garcia, and Andrea Salinas and look forward to more in a few weeks,” said Gallego.

Updated at 11:52 a.m.

Tags 2022 midterms Andrea Salinas Bold PAC Congressional Hispanic Caucus Hispanic voters Ruben Gallego Ruben Gallego
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