House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts

House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts
© Greg Nash

House Democrats' campaign arm launched a program Wednesday aimed at incentivizing minority voters to register to vote in 12 battleground districts.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) will invest six figures in placing organizers in districts with large African American, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Native populations.

The effort, dubbed the Constituency Organizing Program, is intended to rally minority communities in nine Democratic-controlled districts as well as three vulnerable districts where a Republican incumbent is retiring.

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“We are not taking anything – or anyone – for granted in 2020. This on the ground investment in building trust with core communities is another early, intentional step to engage and organize in communities of color,” said DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosRep. Steve Watkins loses Kansas primary after voter fraud charges Democrats go big on diversity with new House recruits DCCC adds six candidates to program aimed at flipping GOP-held seats MORE (D-Ill.).

The effort will target AAPI voters in three California districts to defend Democratic Reps. Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE, Katie Porter and Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump advancements on Pebble Mine | Interior finalizes public lands HQ move out West over congressional objections | EPA to issue methane rollback: report Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump administration advancements of Pebble Mine How to combat substance abuse during COVID-19 MORE.

The program will appeal to African American voters in defense of Georgia Rep. Lucy McGrath (D), and in an attempt to pick up retiring Georgia Republican Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits House revives floor amendments Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to limit further expansion of 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force MORE's seat. It will also seek to defend Democratic Reps. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMultiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert Hoyer: Maskless Republicans a public health threat Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (S.C.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Republicans choose Frietas to challenge Spangberger for Virginia congressional seat Over 570 women registered to run for office, topping 2018 record MORE (Va.).

It'll also target Hispanic voters in New Mexico's second district in defense of Rep. Xóchitl Torres-Small (D) and in three Texas districts, supporting Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D) as well as Democratic contenders for the vacant seats left by retiring GOP Reps. Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonTroy Nehls wins GOP primary in competitive Texas House district 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch China must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong MORE and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Texas Democrats plan 7-figure ad buy to turn state blue Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House MORE.

“The Latino community is the tide that will turn Texas blue and I’m glad to see the DCCC is continuing to build on the critical work they started last year to engage Latino voters,” said Texas Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality Democrats hope clash resonates with key bloc: Women MORE (D).

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And in Arizona's first district, the program will target Native voters to help Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D) keep his seat.

The program follows the DCCC's success in rallying minority voters in 2018, a cycle when increased voter turnout, particularly in the southwest, was a cornerstone of the Democratic strategy to retake the House.

That strategy is based on research that shows early contact from campaigns can turn low-propensity minority voters into reliable electoral participants.

In many Texas districts with large Latino majorities, for example, participation more than doubled between 2014 and 2018, according to a post-election analysis by polling group Latino Decisions.

The DCCC and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) campaign arm, Bold PAC, have partnered in Texas, where Democrats are optimistic they can build on their 2018 gains by appealing to first-time Hispanic voters.

"This program is a great initiative by the DCCC to mobilize the Latino community in districts across the country where the Latino vote will make all the difference," said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), the chairman of Bold PAC.

"Democrats need to speak to these voters early and often, and in order to do that, we need to keep making big investments in our community. In the upcoming months leading to the election, Bold PAC looks forward to continuing to work with the DCCC to protect and expand the most diverse House Democratic majority in history," said Cárdenas.