I understand that Hispanic advocates are ecstatic about the record turnout in Nevada this cycle, as much as 19 percent of the vote, according to exit polls.
Indeed, the Latino landslide for President Obama helped him easily win Nevada again. Exit polls showed Obama won Hispanics by 50 points or more, contributing to his more than 6 percentage point win here.
But America's Voice, a leading national group advocating for immigration reform went a bit too far in its post-election hype about Nevada, inadvertently making the case that Latino influence is not so determinative.
In a release headlined, "For Second Time in Two Elections, Nevada Latinos Make Their Mark," the group bragged about Hispanic influence in three key Nevada races -- the U.S. Senate contest and two congressional districts. The problem: Democrats lost two of those three races. And this ain't tiddlywinks.
Granted, Latinos almost won the Senate race for Berkley, a fact Sen. Dean Heller seemed to realize with his post-election epiphany: "I see brown people."
OK, he didn't say that, but his "I'm going to broker comprehensive immigration reform" comments were an obvious acknowledgement of the demographic realities.
America's Voice used election-eve poll results from Latino Decisions to assert Berkley defeated Heller by 59 percentage points among Hispanics, numbers much greater than exit polls that showed a huge but significantly lesser margin (41 percentage points). Those are devastating numbers for the incumbent, and yet....
And so did GOP Rep. Joe Heck, who America's Voice described as having "held on to his seat in the 3rd District, (but) his opponent John Oceguera made him work for it." That laughable description notwithstanding (Heck won convincingly, by nearly 8 percentage points.), it's hard to see why the group would brag about any Latino influence here. Remember, Oceguera played up his Latino blood and still got crushed, so I'm not sure what the point is.
The only race out of the three that America's Voice has a right to crow about is Steven Horsford's smashing victory over Danny Tarkanian. Almost a quarter of the district is Latino, and the Culinary union's turnout effort there helped turn that race around for Horsford. And Tarkanian's 2010 Senate race, in hwich he provided much fodder on immigrationf or Horsford to exploit, didn't hurt either.
The release's subhead gushed: "Updated America's Voice Report Shows that NV Latinos Nevada Latinos Secured the State for Obama and Influenced Senate and Key House Races"
Influenced? Yes. Won? Um, no.
No one has played up the influence of the state's Hispanic population here more than I, espcially in presidential politics and in that memorable 2010 epic, Saving Harry Reid. But America's Voice, in that release that focused on the federal races below the presidential contest, had to have two out of its three race labels say: "LOSS FOR IMMIGRANTS"
Latinos will continue to be a force in Nevada politics, and they will influence governmental decisions (wait for Session '13) and campaigns (Gov. Sunny's suck-up tour continues soon). But sometimes braggadocio can defy results, as in this case.
My message to America's Voice: One out of three ain't good.