Sam Morris and Mona Shield Payne/Las Vegas Sun
Monday, April 30, 2012 | 4:12 p.m.
Shelley Berkley, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, launched her outreach effort aimed at Latino voters Monday with a press conference involving several local Latino leaders.
"While Dean Heller is siding with Big Oil companies and Wall Street corporations shipping American jobs overseas, Shelley Berkley has made the middle class her number one priority," said state Senator Ruben Kihuen, according to a release. "Nevada families need someone they can count on to stand up to corporate special interests in order to put people back to work and protect Medicare and Social Security. That person is Shelley Berkley, who has proven time and again she is a champion for middle-class families."
Republican incumbent Dean Heller, who was appointed to the senate seat John Ensign vacated, is running against Berkeley to retain his position.
The group, "Latinos for Shelley," also includes Assembly members Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Olivia Diaz, Steven Brooks and Irene Bustamante Adams, state Senator Mo Denis, Javier Trujillo, chairman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce and Eddie Escobedo Jr., Publisher of Spanish-language weekly El Mundo.
"These distinguished Nevadans share my commitment to fighting for middle class families, and I am grateful for their support," Berkley said, according to the release. "We cannot afford for politicians in Washington to continue siding with Wall Street against the best interests of the middle class."
Latino voters are seen as key to swinging elections in several battle-ground states such as Nevada, Colorado and Florida. Margins between Republican and Democratic candidates in state-wide races in Nevada have been very tight in recent years. In 2004, Republican George W. Bush won Nevada by a 2.6 percentage points, and in 2010, Republican Sharron Angle lost the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Harry Reid by 6 points.
Earlier this month both the Democrats and Republicans launched their own Latino outreach campaigns in advance of the November election.