Hispanic Caucus members embark on 'virtual bus tour' with Biden campaign

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden launched a "virtual bus tour" with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Wednesday, targeting Latino voters in Southern and Midwestern battleground states.

The virtual tour will run from east to west, with CHC members hosting events in different cities, hoping to encourage Latino voter participation and selling Biden's plans for the community.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), the South Florida representative who kicked off the tour, said the program, called "Voy a Votar," meaning "I'm going to vote," shows Biden's respect for Hispanic communities.

"Joe Biden knows that our country, and especially our state, does not exist as we know it without the Hispanic community," said Mucarsel-Powell in a statement. "The United States is built on the backs of our parents and grandparents, and he wants to celebrate it by honoring us and our identities as Hispanic-Americans."

The program was launched as both the Biden campaign and President Trump's reelection effort have raised the volume on their Hispanic outreach to open Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Hispanic voters have come into focus for presidential campaigns as polls have tightened in states like Florida, where the Hispanic vote is crucial, and Biden's lead has expanded in states with smaller Hispanic populations, like Michigan and Wisconsin.

Still, the virtual bus tour will seek out Hispanic voters in states with relatively smaller populations, where a Hispanic minority could tip the balance of an election.

And the tour will target California and Texas, where about half of the country's entire Hispanic population lives, and down-ballot Democratic efforts will rely on high Hispanic participation.

Voy a Votar kicked off in Miami on Wednesday with a phone bank hosted by Mucarsel-Powell, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, and actor Jonathan del Arco from "Star Trek: Picard."

CHC Chairman Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) is expected to join the program Friday.

Voy a Votar will host events in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.