Latino Victory Fund launches effort to draft Gallego for Arizona Senate in 2020


Ruben Gallego

Arizona has never been represented by a Latino in the Senate. Ruben Gallego, 38, previously served two terms in the Arizona House. | Matt York/AP Photo

A PAC supporting Latino candidates is launching an effort to recruit Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego to run in the 2020 special election for the late Sen. John McCain’s seat.

Latino Victory Fund president Cristóbal Alex said his group will try to draw the second-term congressman from Phoenix into the race. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed to replace McCain earlier this month, but Kyl has said he has no plans to run in the 2020 special election, leaving the field for both parties wide open. Whoever wins the seat in 2020 would have to run again in 2022 to win a full term.

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“It is time that Arizona is represented by a Latino in the U.S. Senate,” Alex told POLITICO. “Congressman Gallego is a combat veteran, a Harvard graduate, a community leader and a progressive champion. Latino Victory believes that he is the most qualified person to represent Arizonans in the Senate, and we will do everything possible to ensure that our community is represented.”

Latino Victory Fund has run a similar drafting effort before. It recruited Veronica Escobar, a county judge, to run for Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) House seat when O’Rourke ran for Senate. The recruitment effort included a social media campaign and endorsements from O’Rourke, Rep. Joaquín Castro and actress Eva Longoria.

Escobar won the Democratic primary in March.

“The support that Latino Victory gave me was phenomenal and when they jumped in and did the recruitment effort to try to convince me to run, it really made things far more clear for me,” Escobar said. “They created a momentum that not just inspired me but really became kind of like a wave for me.”

Arizona has never been represented by a Latino in the Senate. Gallego, 38, previously served two terms in the Arizona House. A spokesperson for Gallego did not immediately return a request for comment.

If Gallego chooses to run, he could face a competitive primary. Grant Woods, a former Republican state attorney general and chief of staff to McCain, spoke with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about potentially running as a Democrat in the election, The Washington Post reported last week.

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