POLITICS
02/29/2016 09:02 am ET Updated Feb 29, 2016

Latino Lawmakers Throw Support Behind Hillary Clinton

They said Bernie Sanders has failed to stand with the Latino community.
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential candidate who can actually get things done, Congressional Hispanic Caucus memb
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential candidate who can actually get things done, Congressional Hispanic Caucus members say.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received an endorsement Monday from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The CHC BOLD PAC endorsement comes as both Clinton and opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are vying to win the Latino vote, which could be pivotal in Super Tuesday primary states like Texas and Colorado.

Both candidates sought an endorsement from the group, which helps elect candidates who support Latino issues. They chose Clinton in an internal vote that concluded Sunday, according to Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), the PAC's chairman. He declined to reveal the vote tally, but it's safe to say it swung heavily Clinton's way, since a majority of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members have already endorsed her, and only one of them, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), has endorsed Sanders.

"I have always been proud to stand with the Latino community, not only in fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, but fighting for all families to have the chance to get ahead and stay ahead," Clinton said, adding that she stands with the caucus on issues like the economy, wage gap, environment and education. 

Cárdenas and three other CHC members at a press conference praised Clinton's record and platform, while criticizing Sanders either implicitly or explicitly. Clinton has been a longtime champion of the Latino community and is not a "Johnny-come-lately," the members said. They said they weren't interested in a candidate who just says the right things -- they were looking for someone who could actually achieve his or her promises.

"We love Sen. Sanders as a senator," said Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), who chairs the caucus. "But I think that oftentimes he has some a very utopian idea of how he can reform the country and Washington, D.C. in particular. ... [Clinton] has built up those relationships in order to navigate and to try to get things done in a place, admittedly, very little gets done. I think that makes her far superior."

Cárdenas said they respect Sanders, but "he has failed to stand with our community time and time again on issues that mattered most to us," noting the senator voted against the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Clinton touted her support of that bill in her statement, though she didn't point out that Sanders opposed it. She said she "will fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation from the moment I take office."

Sánchez and Cárdenas, joined by Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), said they hope the person ultimately elected president will work with them on issues important to Latinos, such as education, health care, the economy and immigration. Cárdenas said he wants a president to "hit the ground running" -- a potential jab at President Barack Obama, who promised to push for immigration reform in his first term but didn't actually do so in a substantive way until his second.

"We've seen in the history of this country that some people have made it a priority, but it's in the second term that we see them start the momentum," Cárdenas said.

This article was updated with a statement from Clinton and details from a press conference.

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