Trump Courts Latino Voters in Key State of Arizona

President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his efforts to win over Latino voters as polls show their support increasingly up for grabs ahead of the November presidential election – a flashing warning light for Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign, Reuters informed.

Trump hosted what was billed as a roundtable with local Latino supporters in Phoenix, a day after holding a similar event in Las Vegas. Unlike the Nevada event, the Phoenix stop featured a raucous audience of hundreds, sitting close together in the indoor venue, despite public health concerns about the coronavirus.

“This is supposed to be a roundtable, but it looks like a rally,” Trump told the crowd.

Biden was scheduled to travel to Florida on Tuesday in a bid to shore up flagging support from Hispanic voters in that key battleground state.

The former vice president has seen his edge with Latino voters shrink in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. The most recent national Reuters/Ipsos poll of the presidential race saw his lead over Trump among Hispanics fall to 9 points in August from 30 points in July.

At the Phoenix event, Trump was praised by small-business owners and members of local law enforcement, among others, while continuing to criticize Democratic protests against racism in U.S. cities, saying they threatened Latino businesses.

“They’ll rip down your community,” Trump said. “Many of these are Hispanic-American small businesses, stores, shops and they rip them down and call it peaceful protesting.”

A day earlier, Trump held an indoor campaign rally in Las Vegas, drawing the condemnation of the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, who said the event ran afoul of the state’s coronavirus guidelines.

Ahead of Trump’s visit to Phoenix, Latino Democratic officials in Arizona said the administration’s halting response to the pandemic had devastated Latino families in the states.

“So many Latinos in my community are essential workers who are on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus, but Trump’s failed response has treated our essential workers like they’re disposable, and it’s a disgrace,” state Senator Rebecca Rios said in a call with reporters.

Trump won Arizona over Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than 4 points in 2016. Since then, the state, once a hotbed of conservatism, has elected a Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema, and the Biden campaign has hopes of scoring a win there.

Recent polls have shown Biden with a slight edge in the state. A CBS News/YouGov poll taken last week showed him with a 3-point lead.

Nationally, Hispanics make up the largest minority voting group at more than 13% of eligible voters. Clinton in 2016 won about two-thirds of the Latino vote, with Trump earning a 28% share, according to exit polls.

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