In efforts to boost Republican candidates’ standing among Latino voters in a handful of tight midterm races, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is lending his voice to the cause, this time in Spanish.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rolled out the Spanish language ad campaign Tuesday featuring Bush, a popular former chief executive of a heavily Hispanic state who is also a bilingual Spanish speaker. It’s part of an effort to woo Latino voters to support Republican candidates in three key contests, most notably Colorado, where Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is mounting a strong challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Bush also cut ads for Republican House candidate Martha McSally in Arizona and Rep. David Valadao in California.
Bush, a son and brother of former presidents who may mount a presidential campaign of his own in 2016, has been at odds with many in his party over his moderate position on immigration. Bush actively supports immigration reform and made headlines earlier this year when he said illegal border crossings can at times be an “act of love.”
The outcome of the Colorado race may determine which party wins control of the Senate next year. Latino voters there make up more than 14% of the electorate, making it one of the few Senate battlegrounds where Latinos could have a significant impact
Gardner is a “good man willing to buck his own party,” Bush says in the 30-second spot.
In fact, Gardner has tried to have it both ways with his party and Latino voters by appearing both hawkish on immigration issues while also supporting reform that includes “earned status” for undocumented immigrants. During the height of conservative backlash against the unaccompanied minors caught crossing the southwestern border this summer, Gardner broke from his party in July when House Republicans passed a controversial and largely symbolic piece of legislation that would cut protections for so-called DREAMers, young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
The ad is the second Spanish-language campaign out by the Chamber of Commerce to hit Colorado in recent months with an economic pitch to Latino voters. In May, Sen. Marco Rubio cut television spot for Gardner, praising the Republican’s record on reining in debt and spending.
McSally, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in one of the few districts in the country that supported Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 but sent a Democrat to the House the same year. Bush pushes a pro-business message in that ad, saying in Spanish that McSally would “fight for the economy” and work to increase jobs.
In California, Bush is helping out Valadao, a freshman congressman and son of immigrants who is hoping to reclaim his seat. With almost a month until the Nov. 4 elections, Valadao’s 21st congressional district is receiving some national attention, where more than 70% of residents are Latino. Vice President Joe Biden is set to stump for Valadao’s opponent, Democrat Amanda Renteria, on Tuesday.