Face-Off: The Hispanic Engagement Strategy for the Crist and Scott Campaigns

 

Left to right: Jaime Florez and Omar Khan

Left to right: Jaime Florez and Omar Khan

I have been writing often in reference to the 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaigns. Whichever campaign focuses heavily and strategically on the Hispanic vote, will be the winner of the 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign.   I decided to contact the Crist and Scott campaign and ask them about their campaign’s current Hispanic engagement efforts.  Here is what they had to say:

This is what Jaime Florez, Hispanic Communications Director for the Rick Scott Campaign had to say about their Hispanic engagement:

“This week, Let’s Get to Work will be launching Oportunidad, its first Spanish language TV and digital ad. I cannot recall a previous gubernatorial campaign in Florida where Spanish paid media started this early. The initial $500,000 Spanish media buy, which launches Wednesday, is only the first of many to come that will share with Spanish-speaking Floridians Governor Rick Scott’s record and vision for our state. Still, paid advertisements are just one component of a comprehensive effort in engaging Hispanic voters throughout our state at every level, especially at the grassroots, with a sustained volunteer-to-voter contact.

We are very excited about the foundation we have laid over the last several months to get to this point. We have a Spanish communication shop providing daily information to the Spanish-language press. Our Hispanic Political Directors have been building a strong network of support within the Hispanic community’s elected officials, civic, faith-based and business leaders. The Spanish website www.rickscottporlaflorida.com will be going live tomorrow, giving voters the option to follow our campaign and receive updates in English or Spanish. On our social media sites, we’ve posted bilingual messages, encouraging followers to communicate in the language of their preference.

Much is said about “Hispanic Outreach” in politics and gauging a campaign’s commitment to secure the Hispanic vote by a set of benchmarks: How much is spent on Spanish paid media? Does the campaign have a Spanish press shop? Is there a Spanish website? Do they have a Hispanic political team? Going by the traditional political checklist, our campaign is months ahead of the Charlie Crist operation in putting into place and executing a campaign that is committed to earning the vote of each Hispanic in Florida. It’s noteworthy that if the Crist team has not been able to maintain an English speaking spokesperson, imagine how long it will take them to hire and keep a Spanish speaking spokesperson? All kidding aside, our campaign is not traditional. From the Governor to our volunteers, this campaign is committed to not just checking a list of benchmarks. We will implement the most robust “Hispanic Outreach” seen yet.

Florida’s diversity provides for a unique campaign approach that is more substantive and goes beyond traditional “outreach” but requires a more in- depth commitment and discipline to build an enlace with the Hispanic community. By continuing to execute this approach we will prove successful in November. More importantly, the ethnic richness of our state strengthens the focus of our campaign, which is ultimately about creating oportunidades for ALL Floridians.”

This is what Omar Khan, Campaign Manager for the Charlie Crist Campaign had to say about their Hispanic engagement:

“We are focused on building a campaign that looks like the people of Florida. One of our first senior staff hires is Hispanic, and we will certainly be communicating with voters through Hispanic media. And just today, we’ve launched www.CharlieCrist.com/Espanol to share Governor Crist’s vision with Florida’s Spanish-speaking community.

But more important than the process of the campaign is policy of the candidate. Governor Crist believes that our state’s diversity is its greatest strength. He believes that we can create more opportunities by lifting all boats: investing in making college more affordable, and putting a laser focus on making Florida the beacon for Latin American trade and tourism, which will create thousands of new job opportunities for small businesses. Governor Crist will create a Florida Trade and Development Representative whose job will be to open doors for Florida businesses to new markets – particularly Latin American – and who will answer directly to the Governor.

This is a significant departure from Governor Scott, who campaigned on bringing an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida, has reduced opportunities for HIspanic students to get an affordable college education, and has made it much harder for people to vote. Charlie Crist believes everyone should be able to live the American Dream here in Florida.”

My thoughts?  If I could give two pieces of advice out to any campaign it is this:

1.  Make sure you are sending out press releases in Spanish to media en Español  and Hispanic community leaders.  Every press release you have in English should be in Spanish also.

2. Invest, invest, invest statewide in placing ads with local community papers in Spanish as they are the gatekeepers of the Hispanic community.  This is the paper that the community picks up to read.  Seeing your ad in these papers sends a message that says: “you matter to me”  Contact me if you would like my opinion on which ones I would use statewide.

Are All Florida Gubernatorial Campaigns Failing to Reach Out to Hispanics?

 

Rick Scott Paella

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

It has been going so well lately for Governor Rick Scott.   As governor, he has finally started appearing in touch with the multicultural Hispanic community that represents Florida.  He stood with the Venezuelan community when they needed someone from the government to show that they cared about the current uproar in their country.  He appointed Cuban-American Carlos Lopez-Cantera as his Lieutenant Governor.  He went to a Paella festival in Miami.  He has stopped the voter purge that many say would affect Hispanics going to the polls.  We Hispanics might as well start calling him “Ricardito Eskot” for his savvy choices in reaching out to the Hispanic community–regardless if they are sincere or not.

Governor Scott has done everything right to attract Hispanics to his campaign. However, due to recent events, the opposition and media believe Scott is hiring people who do not understand the political landscape of Florida and the importance of being sensitive to Hispanic culture. I am referring to the recent incident of former co-finance chairman Mike Fernandez resigning for Rick Scott’s campaign due to his feeling a lack of connection to Hispanic outreach in the Scott campaign. Is the lack of connection towards Hispanics only being felt in Scott’s campaign? I believe it is larger than this, and if you sit down with each campaign and ask them to inform you of the amount of money that they will allocate toward Hispanic engagement and media during the campaign, you will come to the conclusion that even though they point their finger at Scott, sadly, there might be three fingers pointing back at them. How much is each gubernatorial campaign allocating toward Hispanic engagement and Hispanic directed media? Kindly I would like to ask them to show us the numbers. My next concern is the following: why is it so difficult to get in touch with the Scott and Crist campaign?

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The Inevitable Creation of the Hispanic Politician

486343_414886481939939_112290005_nWho would think that Communism would change the entire paradigm of how politics is run in Florida. In the 50’s there were many prosperous Cubans that had their businesses and their residences here and in Cuba.  After Castro took political power and started taking lands and businesses, most of the more affluent Cubans along with many less fortunate decided to leave the island.  The most prosperous saw that their vision was very different from that of the revolutionaries.  Angry at their losses and the pain the regime brought toward the people they loved, they vowed to make sure that the Castro regime would fail, thus, creating in them a passion for political power in Florida.

Almost 60 years later, the inheritance of this Cuban-American passion is seen in the corridors of Tallahassee and in groups such as the Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus (FHLC) whose purpose is to discuss, educate and advocate issues that are important to the advancement of Hispanics and the Hispanic community in the State of Florida.

Several Republicans and a handful of Democrats are members of this group. A majority of them are Continue reading

Being Very “Guapo” Attracts the Hispanic Vote in Florida

By Evelyn Perez-Verdia

Welcome to 2014 and in Florida, we will be selecting a governor in November.  The two top contenders have name recognition, Republican Governor Rick Scott and Democratic candidate and former Governor, Charlie Crist.  Governor Scott and his advisors do not forget that in 2010, Marco Rubio won 62% of the Latino vote and Governor Scott himself took 51% of Latino votes.

I was a witness to many Hispanic women having no idea what Marco Rubio stood for.  However, he seemed like a “good kid” and by golly, he was muy guapo!  He got the ladies vote.  This situation hits close to home, as some of those individuals are members of my family. In 2010 Hispanic women voted in higher numbers than Hispanic men.  The ages of Hispanic women who voted the most were over the age of 41.

The news of Carlos Lopez-Cantera being appointed the first Hispanic lieutenant governor by Florida Governor Rick Scott might not be exciting for many; however for the politicos who do the numbers, it is a brilliant choice.  The former Miami-Dade Property Appraiser is a charming, good looking 40 year-old Cuban American man from South Florida.  He almost seems a bit of a Marco Rubio clone…clever.  Kudos to whoever orchestrated this one.  By the way, I would love to meet you…whoever you are.

Since the famous televised debates of Kennedy and Nixon on September 1960, we have seen time and time again that facial appearance may influence voting decisions in elections.  The visual appearance of someone has a remarkable effect on what individuals think about Continue reading