DNC's Henry Muñoz: Latino VP for Clinton would deepen historic nature of the ticket

A Democratic National Committee official said that three Latinos rumored to be on Hillary Clinton’s short list to be her running mate all are highly qualified.

The official, DNC financial chair Henry Muñoz III, added that a Hispanic vice presidential candidate would deepen the historic dimension of this election. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is said to be considering, among others, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Xavier Becerra of California to be her running mate.

“Each of those three gentlemen have had significant public service careers, are recognized leaders,” said Muñoz, a Texas native and philanthropist. “Each of them have significant roles in Clinton’s campaigns. They’ve have been surrogates, speaking not only to the Latino community but to the [larger] American community.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised, there’s a consideration of them along with a great many leaders in the Democratic Party."

Clinton long has enjoyed robust support among Latinos — they gave her more votes than they did Barack Obama when both were vying to be the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 2008 presidential election.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has cut into her Latino support, emerging as a favorite, 2-to-1, among Latino millennials.

A recent Fox News Latino poll showed Sanders getting the support of 73 percent of Latino millennials to GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s 21 percent. Clinton grabbed 61 percent with the group against Trump.

But with Sanders, who has said he will vote for Clinton in November and that he knows he cannot win the nomination, expected to drop out of the race, the former secretary of state is likely to pick up the votes of Latinos who would have cast it for Sanders.

Muñoz says Latinos are particularly energized this election season, given its historical dimension and their opposition to Trump.

“This is a historic campaign,” Muñoz said. “We’ve nominated the first woman to be the nominee – the representative of a major American political party. It would also be historic to have a Latino on the ticket.”

In 2013, Muñoz was named the DNC finance chairman, becoming the first Latino to hold that position.

Muñoz already was a heavy-hitter in Democratic political circles, teaming up with Hollywood A-listers such as actress Eva Longoria to launch projects and organizations aimed at supporting Latinos running for office and other political candidates who support policies backed by a majority of Latinos.

Muñoz and Longoria co-founded the Latino Victory Project, a Washington D.C.-based organization that, among other things, aims to increase Latino political power.

“What you’re seeing in the community now is a historic activation of Latinos to be engaged,” Muñoz said. “More Latinos are filing to become citizens of the United States, voter registration numbers are up.”

Naming a Latino to be her running mate, Muñoz said, “would be a wonderful historic moment.”
“Latinos recognize in this election what is important to them and their families.”

He said Latinos see a choice between “somebody who wants to build a wall, not [just] between Mexico and the United States, [but] who wants to build a wall between ourselves and opportunities, between ourselves and the American Dream.”

As for rumors that the DNC is wooing Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” to perform at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, Muñoz demurred.

“That would be a wonderful thing,” Muñoz said of Miranda performing at the convention. “The people who are producing the convention have it in their head what will distinguish our convention from the Republican convention is that we have the opportunity to showcase this diverse talent, this amazing voice of our country, one America.”

“The person who in this last year has embodied that…is Lin-Manuel Miranda,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw not only Lin-Manuel Miranda, but a great number of Latino artists, celebrities and thought leaders on stage.”

On July 12, there will be a special matinee showing of "Hamilton" in Manhattan to raise funds for Clinton's campaign.

Muñoz has seen “Hamilton” five times.

“If I have to invite him [myself], I’ll invite him,” he quipped about having Miranda at the convention.