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NBC News: Elizabeth Warren campaign to launch five-city Latino tour in Texas

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Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who heads to New Hampshire with an apparent third-place finish in Iowa, is looking ahead to Texas and its bevy of Latino voters.

On Monday, the Massachusetts senator's campaign is launching a five-city tour, starting in San Antonio, the hometown of former presidential candidate Julián Castro. Castro joined her campaign as a surrogate after dropping out of the race in early January. Castro's mother, Rosie Castro, a civil rights activist, will be a headliner at the San Antonio event.

The next city is Laredo on Tuesday where comedian and Texas native Cristela Alonzo will join her, then to McAllen on Wednesday. She is scheduled to be in Corpus Christi — home of the iconic Tejana singer Selena — on Thursday and wrap up Friday in Houston, where Warren attended college. As of Thursday, Warren was not scheduled to be on the tour.

Texas holds its primary on Super Tuesday, March 3, along with several other states and has 38 electoral votes.

“Latinos, Latinas and Latinx people will play a big role in upcoming elections,” Maria Martinez, Warren’s national Latinx community engagement director, said in a statement. “We understand that historically and under this administration, immigrant communities and communities of color have been under attack.”

The tour targeting the state's largest nonwhite voting bloc drew praise from Antonio Arellano, executive director of Jolt, a group aimed at mobilizing young Texas Latino voters.

“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,” said Arellano, whose group is holding a presidential forum for Latino youth Feb. 15 in Pasadena, Texas.

“We here in Texas are sick and tired of candidates Google-translating their websites and running one Spanish language ad and calling it outreach,” he said.

The attention to Latinos from a five-city tour of a presidential candidate is welcome, said Hector Sanchez Barba, executive director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota, which has been registering Latinos to vote for years. But he said Latinos will want more than a tour.

“We want to see where they stand on the issues that are strategic for us; what is the percentage of Latinos they have in the campaign, including at senior levels; what are the positions they took in the past; how many Latinos have they hired in the past and what is the commitment they have moving forward,” Sanchez said. Mi Familia Vota has been holding “conversations” with candidates that are posted online. Warren has not yet committed to participate.

Not only is Warren looking ahead to Super Tuesday, she’s also eyeing a big early primary state: Nevada.

More crucial for Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren, however, may be Nevada, the first contest with a large share of minority voters. Mr. Biden this week cut his advertising spending in South Carolina and redirected more money to the airwaves in Nevada.

Yet it is possible that two of the most influential forces in the state’s politics may remain on the sidelines before their caucuses. Former Senator Harry Reid, long the de facto leader of the Nevada Democratic Party, said that despite “encouragement from a number of my friends,” he still planned to stay out of the race.

Just as important, the politically muscular culinary union in Las Vegas also may not endorse before the caucuses, Mr. Reid said.

“They’re keeping their powder dry,” he said. “They may wait until after the caucuses.”

Both Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren have aggressively courted Mr. Reid and the union, which represents many of Las Vegas’s casino workers, and Ms. Warren is planning to dispatch one of her top labor allies from Massachusetts to help her in Nevada.

Yet she and her top aides do not think they are in as precarious a position as Mr. Biden because Iowa’s delay in reporting results denied Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders the momentum that usually accompanies a top finish there.

And I like that she is sticking with her message:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a CNN town hall event on Wednesday night maintained she was the best candidate to knock out both President Donald Trump and corruption in Washington D.C., and repeated her assertion that a woman can and should be in the White House.

The Massachusetts senator, who has steadily remained in third place behind Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders as results from the Iowa caucuses are released, was asked at the event whether the men in the 2020 race were better positioned to oust Trump solely due to their gender.

“I believe they think so, but they’d be wrong,” she said with a smile, inspiring a mix of laughter and applause.

Warren argued “the world changed in 2016 once Donald Trump was elected,” noting the very next day the Women’s March became the “largest protest rally in the history of the world.”

Two years later, Warren said, Democrats retook the House of Representatives and many state legislatures “because of women candidates and friends of women who were energized by those candidates. What the data show now is that in competitive elections, women are outperforming men.”

So let’s keep up the momentum for Warren. Click here to donate and get involved with her campaign.