For months, you've heard how Hispanics could decide the presidential race in crucial battleground states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. But as much as the campaigns stress their commitment to reaching Hispanic voters, a study for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce concludes that campaigns are failing to put their media advertising dollars where their mouth is.
Kantar Media's CMAG analyzed TV spending in the nine main battlegrounds and while overall ad spending is way up — by Labor Day it equaled all the ad spending of the entire 2008 cycle — the share of spending on Spanish-language media has stayed steady at about 4.5 percent.
"It's a gross miscalculation by any campaign to continue to advertise and spend 96 percent of their investment dollars on English-only viewership," Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the Hispanic chamber.
In Florida, with 16 percent of all registered voters being Hispanic, only 6.79 percent of the local TV political ad money spent in this election cycle has been on Spanish-language media. Of that, Democrats have spent $4,260,740 and Republicans $2,118,750 on the campaigns for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House, the study found.
Latinos watch English-only stations too, of course, but Monica Lozano, CEO of the media firm ImpreMedia, said naturalized, foreign-born citizens are more likely to vote in elections than native-born Latinos, and they get most of their information through Spanish-language media.
"There is no 'right' level of Spanish-language advertising," Palomarez added. "But certainly both major parties should be prioritizing Hispanic voters and dedicating real resources to reaching those voters. It is not clear that has happened yet in 2012."
Romney visit to come
We hear Mitt Romney is returning to Tampa Bay on Friday. But no word yet on where or what kind of event he will hold.
GOP chooses replacement to run for District 42 seat
The Republican Party of Florida on Saturday chose Michael LaRosa, R-Celebration, as a replacement candidate for House District 42, which became enmeshed in scandal last week.
Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, abruptly dropped out of the race when his name came up on a client list during an investigation into an alleged prostitution ring.
Horner's name will remain on the ballot, but all votes cast for him will go to LaRosa, 30, who graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2004.
LaRosa, the son of a Cuban immigrant and a Miami native, will face Eileen Game, a businesswoman running on the Democratic ticket.
More changes in governor's office under new chief of staff
Adam Hollingsworth, Gov. Rick Scott's new chief of staff, continues to reshape the governor's office. The latest move came Monday with the announcement from Lane Wright, press secretary for the governor, that he will be leaving his post to work at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Wright will be replaced by deputy press secretary Jackie Schutz.
Arriving is Tom Yu, former director of research for the Republican National Committee, who will do research and writing for the governor.
Wright's departure follows that of Brian Burgess, who left the governor's office in September to become spokesman for the Republican Party of Florida.
Burgess was replaced by Melissa Sellers, a veteran of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's communications staff who also worked on the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Times/Herald staff writers Toluse Olorunnipa and Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.