Millions of Latino voters could be 'key' to Gov. Newsom's recall or victory

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It's the voting bloc political experts have described as "key" to make or break the success of any Democratic politician.

"The Latino vote is growing nationally. The Latino vote is at about 13 percent nationally now, and in California they are 8 million Latino voters alone. It's a huge voting bloc," said Donna Crane, Political Science lecturer at San Jose State University.

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Governor Newsom knows firsthand the power of the Latino vote. In 2018, 64 percent of Latinos in California voted for him, but recent polls suggested a lack of interest among this group.

"A lot of folks have no idea the recall is happening," said Maricela Gutiérrez, President of nonprofit Siren Action.

Historically Latinos in California have been reliably democratic, but Professor Crane says the 2020 presidential election gave us a snapshot of a slight shift among Latinos in California. Twenty-two percent of Latinos voted Republican and proved Latinos are not a monolith.

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"The Democratic Party is in a little bit of a freak out mode trying to understand that voting bloc and trying not to lose it," said Professor Crane.

Luz Pena: "Does Governor Newsom need the Latino vote to win the Recall?"
Professor Crane: "Newsom can win without the Latino vote, but it is a narrower path to victory. If I were working on his campaign I would tell him he absolutely should focus a lot of effort there."

Last week Governor Newsom was in San Francisco looking to boost Latino turnout. In San Jose immigrant right nonprofit Siren Action has been canvassing since August.

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"We are really pushing to inform the community on why it's important to turnout. We are doing phone banking, texting, and we are also on the ground passing out pamphlets that explain why they should vote NO on the election. It's detrimental to the LGBTQ community, to women, to African American community and immigrants and refugees," said Gutiérrez.

The latest data shows nearly 1.4 million Latino voters already cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday's recall.

The big question is how did they vote?

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