Debbie Mucarsel-Powell reinstates urgency of the Georgia runoff, speaks directly to Latinos
Mucarsel-Powell, a former Florida Congresswoman, inspired a voting message again after campaigning for Dems ahead of the midterms.
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Former Florida House Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, elected in 2019, is hoping to inspire a Latino second wind for Georgia’s Spanish-speaking population as the date for the runoff election draws near.
“I know that at this moment voters are tired because we’ve asked so much of them to go out and vote,” Mucarsel-Powell said in a Spanish-language interview with Univisión.
“But specifically for me, as a Latina, I was a Congresswoman, and I was in Washington D.C. in the House, the first immigrant Latina elected to the House of Representatives here in Florida, and it’s incredibly important that the Latino community expresses their right to vote.”
Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock, an incumbent, faces off against Republican Herschel Walker, a college football star who ran with Donald Trump’s endorsement last year, and because of the tight proximity of the midterm results, their race will continue on Dec. 6 for a second round.
When the Associated Press called the race, Warnock had secured 49.4% of the vote, while Walker had 48.5%.
“In this moment, our voices, the Latino community, can determine who will represent us at the state level and also at the federal level. We are the largest minority group that this country has,” Mucarsel-Powell continued in the interview, streamed in Spanish.
Latinos in Georgia accounted for just 4% of the vote in the last presidential election, and they overwhelmingly voted Democrat in a race that was decided by 12,000 votes.
And though Spanish-speaking voters — whether they are naturalized citizens or carry a passport — could sway election outcomes, turnout in off-year elections is considerably low.
Rafael Collazo, Executive Director of UnidosUS, a political advocacy group, previously told AL DÍA the issue is two-fold: on one hand, there is a large number of unregistered voters, a reality many other voting groups are hoping to change.
Several efforts sprung from the midterms, hoping to engage Latino voters in the political conversation, given low turnout.
On the other hand, Collazo said, there is no outreach from candidates, resulting in unconfident voters.
“Chronic under engagement by parties and candidates continues, with a large majority of Hispanic voters reporting no outreach from either party, even though I think by anybody’s description, this is a highly competitive midterm election,” Clarissa Martinez de Castro, UnidosUS Vice President, said just weeks before the midterms.
But despite the odds, Latinos historically lean Democratic, and their values, while incredibly diverse, will more often than not fall on the left-leaning political spectrum, particularly around cogent issues.
On their top concerns, including inflation, crime, and abortion — polls frequently swung in favor of Democratic candidates, in addition to favoring Democrats’ policy.
Moreover, any association with white supremacist groups or the attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election is an absolute dealbreaker.
The Georgia elections were among the most watched in the nation, and the outcome could decide how comfortable a majority Democrats can achieve in the Senate, making the southern state a battleground in the midterms, a status it has held for years.
In the last round of the presidential elections, Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, hoped to unseat Republican Governor Brian Kemp and repudiated his attempts to disenfranchise minority voters by establishing an overtly onerous voting process.
But since 2016, according to GPB News, the number of recorded Latino voters increased by 140,995.
“[Politicians] are finally starting to pay attention to the importance of the Latino voice,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “That’s why it’s important for Latinos to be educated as to what candidate will better represent them.”
“I know you’re tired. I know we’re asking one more time to go vote in this special election, but your vote matters and this vote determines who will be there for us in Washington, [and] who will be our voice.”
Mucarsel-Powell will be in Georgia for the run-offs, according to her statement to Univisión.