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A billionaire-backed conservative Latino outreach push comes to Pa. days after Democrats launched their own

A billionaire-backed conservative Latino outreach push comes to Pa. days after Democrats launched their own

(The Philadelphia Enquirer – Apr 3, 2024) –

A conservative Latino political group is launching a Pennsylvania chapter just days after President Joe Biden’s campaign launched its own Latino voter outreach initiative.

Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus endorsed Biden’s reelection in Harrisburg on Tuesday as part of the “Latinos con Biden-Harris” campaign launch.

Just two days later, The Libre Initiative, which describes itself as the largest center-right Latino organization in the nation, prepared to launch its Pennsylvania chapter with a Thursday evening event at the Penn’s Landing Hilton.

The event was set to feature an appearance by former Texas Republican Congresswoman Mayra Flores, the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress and fierce defender of former President Donald Trump’s strict border policies. Flores is running for her old seat this year after losing the 2022 election.

The Libre Initiative is backed by billionaire Charles Koch’s donor network, which also funds conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.

Daniel Garza, 55, of McAllen, Texas, launched the group in his home state in 2011 after the Charles Koch Institute contacted him about reaching Latinos about free markets, the New York Times reported.

Garza, who previously worked for former President George W. Bush’s campaign and administration, said in an interview with The Inquirer he was tired of “center-left” Latino organizations driving policy discussions.

“The government that governs least governs best, and we want to make sure we change the conversation in the Latino community,” he said.

Garza said the organization has taken note of the Latino population growth across cities in Pennsylvania, particularly Allentown and Harrisburg, when asked about the decision to expand into the key swing state.

Garza said The Libre Initiative is currently focused on pushing conservative policies, not specific candidates. But the group shared a series of graphics online that rebut claims made by the president called “Busting Biden.” Garza said this week that Latinos could “prosper” under Trump, but not Biden, in an interview on Fox Business.

“This administration has just been woeful on their engagement with the Latino community, and then of course they throw these little events and pretend they’ve been working closely with the Latino community,” he told The Inquirer.

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