Latino Victory Project, a top Democratic group backing Latino candidates and progressives, is staffing up as it prepares for the 2018 midterm elections.
On Tuesday, the group announced it hired Mayra Macias, the former political director at the Florida Democratic Party, to head up the organization’s political operation as it begins launching affiliates in states like Georgia, New York, Arizona, and Florida, which have large Latino populations disproportionate to Latino representation in government.
“This past election cycle showed the country the power of the Latino vote and the potential to grow this electorate,” Macias said in a statement.
“I am beyond humbled I get to work to ensure that the bright spots we saw in 2016 – the first Latina Senator, the first Puerto Rican Congressman from Florida, an increased Latino turnout in several states, more wins for Latinos at the local level – are constant streams of victories in our community.”
The group has recently brought on several high-profile operatives, including former Hillary Clinton and Sen. Harry Reid adviser Jorge Silva and former Democratic National Convention Committee and Media Matters staffer Jess Torres.
Founded in 2014 by actress Eva Longoria and Democratic National Committee treasurer Henry Muñoz III, the group recently refocused as a progressive organization after initially casting itself as more middle-of-the-road, occasionally backing Republican candidates.
But following the 2016 election, the group decided that the leaders of the Republican Party were openly hostile to policies that would benefit Latinos.
“Given the political climate and the policy priorities of our community, we’ve got to change. Because the Republican Party turned its back on us,” Latino Victory Project President Cristóbal Alex told BuzzFeed News earlier this year.
“We can’t negotiate with the white nationalists and racists that Trump has brought in.”
While the group always valued issues like immigration reform, it is focusing on backing candidates who take strong progressive stances on issues including healthcare, education, and raising the minimum wage.
Though it is a fairly small organization, the candidates it backed in 2016 tended to win. As BuzzFeed notes, Latino Victory Project-backed candidates won nine of 11 primary campaigns, as well as nine of their 13 general election campaigns.