RFK Jr. reboots JFK’s Latino outreach program as Biden and Trump both court voting bloc – Washington Examiner

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is relaunching a Latino outreach program pioneered by his uncle, former President John F. Kennedy, potentially throwing a wrench in President Joe Biden‘s efforts to shore up his winning 2020 coalition.

According to Axios, Kennedy plans to relaunch the “Viva Kennedy” program, an initiative his father, former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, launched to help his uncle’s 1960 presidential campaign. John Kennedy would go on to earn 90% of the Latino vote in that election.

The program reportedly will be led by Rob Lucero, who did not respond to inquiries about the initiative, and is expected to launch on March 30 in celebration of the March 31 birthday of famed California farm labor organizer Cesar Chavez.

Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, is the granddaughter of Chavez but did not comment on Kennedy’s reported efforts to tie himself to her family.

For months, Biden’s campaign and White House have waved off polls showing the president hemorrhaging support among non-white voters and voters under 35 ahead of the 2024 election, yet his reelection effort has taken significant steps in recent weeks to boost their minority outreach efforts.

The campaign is pouring at least $30 million into advertisements targeting Asian, black, and Latino voters, and the president announced the launch of his “Latinos con Biden” program during a multiday tour of Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.

“Last time, you’re the reason why, in large part, I beat Donald Trump,” the president said at the Latinos con Biden kickoff event in Phoenix, Arizona earlier this week. “Let’s beat him again. I need you. I need you badly. I need the help. [Vice President] Kamala [Harris] and I desperately need your help, because, look, there’s only about six or seven states that are going to determine the outcome of this election. They’re toss-up states, and this is one of them.”

However, despite Biden’s targeted outreach to Hispanics, a poll conducted by the American Principles Project and first shared with the Washington Examiner showed Biden and Trump virtually deadlocked among Latino voters in Arizona and Nevada.

“Joe Biden and Democrats should be very worried,” APP Director of Hispanic Engagement Alfonso Aguilar said in a statement. “Although for years they have taken the Hispanic vote for granted, their far-left extremism is finally driving many Hispanics to reconsider Republican candidates like Donald Trump who are closer to their values.”

In a head-to-head matchup, APP’s poll found Biden and Trump tied in Arizona, with the president up two points in Nevada. The poll also showed a majority of respondents preferring Trump over Biden on a number of notable concerns, including immigration, school- and sport-based gender matters, and other social topics.

Furthermore, 67% of respondents supported a 12-week ban on abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, maternal mortality concerns, and certain birth defects. Trump recently suggested he supported a national 15-week abortion ban, while Biden has steadfastly opposed any national abortion ban and continues to call on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade.

Trump and Republicans have made significant inroads with Latino communities across the nation since 2020. The demographic largely fueled Republicans’ overwhelming midterm victories in Florida, and polling suggests that Trump has largely rebalanced the more than 20-point margin by which he trailed Biden among Latino voters in the last election.

A poll conducted in early March by the New York Times and Siena College even suggested that Trump now leads Biden by 6 points among Latinos, though the results fall within the poll’s margin of error.

Still, the extent to which Kennedy’s own Latino outreach efforts would pull support from either major party candidate, if at all, remains unknown.

Neither the Biden nor Trump campaigns opted to comment on Kennedy’s Latino outreach efforts.

California Republican consultant Mike Madrid told Axios that the current Latino electorate is vastly different from that of the 1960s and that there is no guarantee that relaunching a JFK-era program will translate to an immediate influx in support among Latinos for the former president’s nephew.

“It’s embarrassing to even bring this up again,” Madrid told Axios. “If that’s who Robert Kennedy Jr. thinks we are, that we’re still the community of the 1960s, then it explains why nobody’s listening to him.”

Kennedy is only currently on the ballot in Nevada and three other states, yet his supporters are in the process of gathering the millions of signatures required to have Kennedy appear on ballots as a third-party candidate in all 50 states.


Kennedy’s team says it is nearing the signature threshold for both Arizona and Georgia, another key 2024 battleground.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Kennedy’s campaign for comment.

Haisten Willis contributed to this report.