[url=http://www.hispanicbusiness.com]http://www.hispanicbusiness.com[/url] | Kate Ackerman
WASHINGTON - A group that supports centrist Democratic candidates on Friday launched a $5 million television advertising campaign aimed at Hispanic voters.
The New Democratic Network, convinced that Hispanics could be key to this year’s presidential election, said it will air ads in markets with large Hispanic populations.
“The Hispanic vote is not part of the basic constituency of the Democratic Party,” said Mike McCurry, White House press secretary under President Clinton and a New Democratic Network advisory board member. “That vote is up for grabs.”
“This is more than any other Democratic campaign or organization has ever spent on Spanish language ads,” added New Democratic Network president and founder Simon Rosenberg
Hispanics are now the largest minority in the United States. According to the 2000 census, 12.5 percent of the population identified itself as Hispanic or Latino.
The New Democratic Network has allocated $2.5 million dollars for the TV ads and has just started raising funds for the other half.
Two ads started running on Friday in Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. More markets will be added soon, including Florida next week.
The first advertisement is about education and the Hispanic community. It ends with a little girl asking, “President Bush, why did you break your promise?” to improve education for Hispanics. The group charges that despite Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” legislation requiring higher standards for children in the nation’s poorest schools, the president has underfunded those schools by $22 billion over four years.
The second advertisement features a man looking around his community and seeing “better schools,” “better communities,” and “better opportunities” under the Democratic agenda.
The two ads were tested in Orlando and Las Vegas in December with great results, said Maria Cardona, the New Democratic Network’s Hispanic Project director.
Democrats are not alone in trying to reach the Hispanic community. In 2000, Bush reportedly spent $2.3 million on Spanish language ads while Al Gore spent about $1 million. The Bush campaign has already started to run its own Spanish language ads for this presidential election.
Rosenberg stressed that the New Democratic Network’s ads differ from Bush’s because they are not simply “Anglo-advertisements” translated into Spanish. The new ads are less generic and are aimed specifically at Hispanics and their issues, he said.
The ads will end in September because of new federal campaign laws that prohibit independent TV political advertisements 60 days prior to the election. The New Democratic Network plans to continue its efforts to reach Hispanic voters after September through the Internet and mass mailings.