Las Vegas Sun

March 29, 2015

Currently: 76° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Advocates: Sharron Angle ad could increase Hispanic turnout

Sun Coverage

Nevada Democrats are accusing GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle of fear-mongering over a new campaign ad that began airing this week, but minority advocates say it could increase voter turnout and help Harry Reid.

The Angle campaign began airing a 30-second commercial hitting Reid for offering public benefits for illegal immigrants through such bills as the DREAM Act. The ad shows stock photos of Latino youths with the words “illegal aliens” at the bottom of the screen, and asks the final question: “What does Harry Reid have against you?”

“It’s a naked appeal to white people that brown people are taking what’s yours,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an organization that promotes a comprehensive immigration overhaul. “But I think this could turn out to be a real turning point in the campaign.”

Local advocates who have been doing voter registration drives in Latino communities in Las Vegas say they expect the commercial will make many Latino voters angry enough that they might vote for the opposition.

“This anti-immigrants sentiment does cause Latinos to turn out,” said Gus West, board chair and president of the Hispanic Institute, which has been coordinating voter registration and mobilization efforts in Nevada this election cycle. “She’s really energizing Hispanics with this, and for that…we’re grateful.”

In Nevada, Hispanics are a potentially large voting bloc, making up 26 percent of the state's population – though Hispanics made up only about 15 percent of the voters in the last election cycle, according to exit polls.

Nationally, expectations are that Hispanics won't turn out in as large a number to support Democratic candidates – or any candidates for that matter – as they have in previous elections because of frustrations that President Obama didn’t deliver on promises to address immigration reform.

A low turnout among Latino voters could hurt Reid, who needs the Democrats' base to overcome the tea party-backed Angle.

Those Hispanics who do turn out are expected to vote for Democrats over Republicans – a reason some strategists say the ad can’t hurt Angle.

“She’s already conceded the Hispanics to Harry Reid,” said Republican strategist Chuck Muth. “Maybe it’s over the top, maybe it’s not – they [Hispanics] would find something to complain about anyway.”

Among the complaints are accusations that the ad takes party politics back to an era many thought was long since past, such as in 1988, when then-GOP presidential candidate George Bush brought Democrat Michael Dukakis’s candidacy down with a racially charged ad about convicted felon Willie Horton, or when Jesse Helms of North Carolina ran ads in 1990 against his competitor – an African-American – that disparaged affirmative action.

Both candidates who aired the ads were successful.

But Latino advocates say they’re not worried that Angle might benefit similarly from using racially charged imagery – including one stock photo of Latino youths that, incidentally, had been used not long ago in an ad by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana.

“I’m not going to say that these tactics haven’t worked in the past,” said Andres Ramirez, a senior vice president with the National Democratic Network based in North Las Vegas. “But I think they will galvanize and mobilize Hispanic voters to turn out in higher numbers – and send the message that scape-goating will not be taken lightly.”

There isn’t 100 percent accord in the Angle camp about the tactics. In a Spanish-language radio interview last week, Ellis Saldarriaga – who works as a spokeswoman for Angle but wasn’t speaking for the campaign during the interview – said she “condemned this type of propaganda” against Mexicans and immigrants, “no matter who is running them.”

But the final judgment about how the immigration issue plays in Nevada will be decided at the polls.

“Shame on Angle for running the ad. But if it works, shame on Nevada,” Sharry said. “Then, Nevada will be known as a place where naked racial appeals work.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 12 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Oh, please! Anti-immigrant! Stop already with the nonsense! ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT is the correct term! We are expected to be lawful in our daily lives. Why should illegals be given a free pass? They blatantly broke our laws and must be held accountable. To them I say: Go home. Get in line. Then come back legally & we will welcome you with open arms just as our ancestors were welcomed. Well, in some cases they were welcomed. Not so much if they were Irish, Chinese or Jewish but that was then - this is now.

  2. "She's already conceded the Hispanics to Harry Reid," said Republican strategist Chuck Muth. "Maybe it's over the top, maybe it's not -- they [Hispanics] would find something to complain about anyway."

    Should ANYONE care what CHUCK MUTH has to say???

    Oh, please... I give more credence to what my DOG says.

    He's just another Hate Monger.
    And SOMEHOW, God only knows how, he's made a CAREER out of it!

  3. CraZy AnGle'S Ad's are a chip off the old block...

    Far out, filled with lies, hateful, and full of fear-mongering.

    CrAzY AnGle is UnElecTabLe.

  4. AnD iF i pUt tHesE funNy leTterS in mY pOsT iT maKeS it MoRE MeANinGfuL.

  5. "She's already conceded the Hispanics to Harry Reid," said Republican strategist Chuck Muth. "Maybe it's over the top, maybe it's not -- they [Hispanics] would find something to complain about anyway."
    THEY would, Chuck? The whole Republican strategy to win elections is to make people scared or dismissive of the 'other.' Hispanics are an important voting bloc in this state and many other states. Politicians demonize the Latino community at their own peril. Republicans seem to want us to live in fear, suspicion and hatred. Nothing will tear the fabric of society apart faster than that.

  6. @novaseline;

    "Reid is falling behind in the polls and its not just about jobs, its about the Az law, cap and trade and all of the other non american policies that obama is pushing..."


    Dude, I think your looking at it UPSIDE DOWN!!!

  7. I have read the following:

    Angle, a Southern Baptist, has called herself a faith-based politician. Among her positions, she opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest and doesn't believe the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.

    Angle is in a dead-heat race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has also said the community center, which would include a mosque, should be built elsewhere. A recent poll showed Reid and Angle tied in the high-profile campaign.

    Reid's campaign said Angle's comments advances its ongoing campaign to portray her as outside mainstream America.

    "The fact that Sharron Angle believes American cities have been taken over by militant terrorist organizations that are ruling our citizens under Sharia law shows a terrifying lack of connection with reality and a willingness to subscribe to conspiracy theories that demonstrates she's far too extreme and dangerous to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate," spokesman Kelly Steele said.

    What I would like to know if any of this is true. I would appreciate if someone who knows more than than me can comment and set the record straight. Thanks in advance.

  8. Sharron Angle and David Vitter of Lousiana are using the same picture of three menacing looking Latino men in their fear mongering political ads. These right wingers assume the voter is stupid and easily fooled.

  9. Have you realized that the people that Reid and Obama hate are racially profiled as:

    1) People who own their homes.
    2) People who are US citizens.
    3) People who have families and pay for their children's college education.
    4) People who are fiscally responsible.

    If you are in those 4 categories, Obama and Reid hates you. If you are anyone else, they love you.
    Goes to show the priorities of these 2 politicians.

  10. Yup, Angle was too lazy to use get her own pictures of menacing illegals so she "plagiarized" "diaper Daves."

    Call Rightklaven!

  11. Republicans are not racists. Democrats are. Look at the evicence.