PHOENIX — Arizona Spanish-language television networks, radio stations, and newspapers in the state are banding together to register Latino voters over the next 10 weeks — a potential boon for Hillary Clinton's campaign in the somewhat longshot state of Arizona.
Ben Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota brought together the networks, which include Univision and Telemundo stations in Arizona as well as Azteca America and many radio stations. Before now, the networks have only come together in 2012 because of an “emergency” — the hardline, so-called “show me your papers” SB1070 immigration law.
“This today, to me, is also an emergency,” Monterroso said of the election, where Democrats and immigration groups hope Latino voters will come out to repudiate not just Donald Trump but also Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“We have seen Arpaio disrespecting and going against our community for many years,” Monterroso said, of the controversial sheriff currently up for re-election while also facing legal trouble. ”The fact that Donald Trump is using Arpaio as one of his validators is a motivating reason why our community should participate in the elections and why I believe the Spanish-language media doing their part to inform, motivate and invite participation is crucial.”
“I think it’s smart,” said Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, a former top Bernie Sanders surrogate who embraced Clinton shortly after the end of the primary. “Spanish-language media, from los periodicos chiquitos en cada pueblo — small weekly papers — radio, and TV, for them to get into registration and participation is smart.”
The effort will include registration, phonebanking, a focus on early voting, and 2,500 PSAs and radio spots that will feature personalities from the Spanish-language networks to get out the vote.
The reason the initiative could have a lasting impact, Grijalva said, is because the community is fed up with the state serving as the tip of the spear on anti-immigrant bills and sentiment for over a decade. “We’ve been the petri dish for every kind of law that is anti-immigrant and anti-Latino as a reaction to this accumulation of Arpaio, [former Gov. Jan Brewer,] border militarization, and the racial profiling,” he said.
Monterroso, who has worked to register Hispanics for decades, convened a meeting at the Mi Familia Vota offices in Phoenix in July, as representatives of each organization attended in person or via conference call.
The 20 partners are Azteca America, Contacto Total, Entravision Radio: La Tricolor 103.5 FM, Jose 106.9 and 107.1 FM & ESPN 710 AM, La Voz, Mary Rabago Productions LLC, Mujeres Unicas LLC, Onda 1190-AM, Prensa Hispana, Telemundo Phoenix, Telemundo Tucson, Telemundo Yuma, Teleritmo, TeleXitos Phoenix, TeleXitos Tucson and Univision Arizona, including UniMás Arizona and Univision’s radio stations: Que Buena 105.9 FM, Mas Variedad 106.3 FM and Latino Mix 100.3 FM.
Monterroso noted that it is unusual to bring together competitors for a major initiative. “I’ve been doing this so long, but I’ve never felt the support that I feel now, I’ve never felt the understanding from so many people that this work is important."
The announcement comes as Trump is set to give a Wednesday speech on illegal immigration in Phoenix, one the campaign required a new venue for because of the demand to attend the event. But along with his enthusiastic supporters, Trump will once again be protested by Latino and immigrant groups.
One Arizona, a coalition of community groups, launched an emergency drive to register 1,000 new voters when they heard Trump was coming to Phoenix.
“I might be one of few people saying this,” Grijalva said, “but participation is going to come as a consequence of what is being done to us.”