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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses her supporters during a caucus night rally at the Forte Banquet and Conference Center February 03, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Chip Somedevilla/Getty Images.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses her supporters during a caucus night rally at the Forte Banquet and Conference Center February 03, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Chip Somedevilla/Getty Images.

Elizabeth Warren is out for the Latino vote in Texas

The Massachusetts senator's presidential campaign kicks off a five-city tour in the Lone Star State on Feb. 10.

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It took Sen. Elizabeth Warren a while, but it finally looks like she might be serious about appealing to Latino voters.

On Feb. 10, her campaign kicked off a tour in five Latino-dominated cities across Texas, starting in San Antonio.

There, the mother of her most significant endorser is the headliner. 

Rosie Castro, mother of Julían Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and 2020 presidential candidate, was a long-time civil rights activist and educator, whose work has focused on bettering the circumstances for Texas’ and U.S.’ Mexican communities in the classroom and professionally.

Since dropping out of the race, her son has fiercely campaigned on Warren's behalf across the country.

During his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in support of Barack Obama, Castro credited his mom’s work with putting a microphone in his hand “instead of a mop.”

Featuring prominent Latinos like Rosie at each stop on the tour looks to be Warren’s strategy with each of the five cities.

After San Antonio, she heads to Laredo, where comedian Cristela Alonzo takes the stage. She is the first Latina to create, produce and star in her own primetime U.S. comedy. 

Alonzo stays on for another stop in McAllen on Wednesday, before Julieta Garibay, founder of United We Dream headlines in Corpus Christi on Thursday. The tour ends in Houston on Friday.

For many engaged with Texas’ Latino community, Warren’s early effort at outreach in the state is a welcome change.

"This marks a drastic change in how politics is run in Texas. For the first time, we are seeing presidential candidates invest in activating this base," Antonio Arellano, a Latino youth advocate, told NBC

Every city on the tour is majority Latino, with Laredo leading the way with over 90%; overall, Latinos are the biggest nonwhite voting bloc in the state.

Nationally, a Pew study estimates 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, making them also the country’s biggest nonwhite voting bloc.  

The key is getting them to come out to the polls. 

Latino Decisions, a data firm that conducts national opinion polls in the Latino community, estimates 14 million Latinos will actually come out on Election Day 2020.

Despite estimating not even half the eligible population to show up, the data does show a major trend up in participation between the 2016 general election and 2018 primaries. 

That jump helped flip some House seats in New Mexico, Texas and California, and significantly reduced the margin of victory for the Republican party in some of its long-standing bastions.

It’s about time

Warren’s move to connect with Latinos early in Texas contrasts with her campaign’s prior approach to engaging the community. 

She was one of the last serious candidates to hire a Latinx outreach director, when she did so in September of last year, and still consistently polls behind in the Latino community compared to candidates with more national profiles like Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Massachusetts senator also faces a stiff challenge in Texas from Michael Bloomberg, who’s pouring copious amounts of money into advertising targeting the Latino community.

Texas’ day to vote in the Democratic primaries is March 3, otherwise known as Super Tuesday.

Editor's note: A previous version of the story stated that both Sen. Warren and Julían Castro would be appearing on the tour. A member of the campaign reached out to inform us that she and Castro are not appearing on the tour. The story has also been updated to include more two more headliners at McAllen and Corpus Christi.
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