Former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria hopes to start a Latino political movement.
Today, Longoria announced the launch of the Latino Victory Project. She called it a non-partisan effort to create more political engagement among Latinos, even though her co-founder, Henry Muñoz III, is the finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Longoria insisted the goal of the group was simply to encourage political participation across the board in the Latino community.
“It’s important to me that the ballots represent the landscape of America,” Longoria said. “It’s a very ambitious effort. It’s a non-partisan effort. It’s never been undertaken before.”
According to the U.S. Census, Hispanics constitute 17 percent of the nation’s total population with approximately 53 million people, accounting for the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
In 2012, more than 11 million Latinos cast a ballot, nearly half of the Latinos registered to vote, helping secure President Obama’s second term, with 71 percent of their votes going to Obama and just 27 percent to Mitt Romney.
However, in midterm elections, Hispanic voter turnout was much lower, with just more than 31 percent of eligible Latinos voting.
“We can’t, as a community, be so engaged in the presidential elections and elect the president, but not turn up at midterms to elect the people who have to work with the president,” Longoria said. “These numbers clearly are not representative of today’s American landscape, and we want the political landscape to match the identities and reflect the reality of America’s people.”
Twenty-eight members of the 435-person U.S. House of Representatives are Latino, as are three members of the U.S. Senate.
For Munoz, the new organization is about taking “the future into our own hands … in name of everyone who has ever walked, or worked, or fought – so everyone has a voice, everyone has a vote and everyone has power.”
Along with the new organization, Longoria and Munoz also announced the launch of a separate fundraising arm, the Latino Victory PAC. The first candidates the organization announced it will support were all Democrats: Leticia Van De Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Texas, plus Rep. Pete Gallegos of Texas, Rep. Joe Garcia of Florida, and Amanda Renteria and Rep. Raul Ruiz of California, all running for Congress.
Asked whether the new group was truly “non-partisan,” Latino Victory Project President Cristobal Alex said, “Neither major political party can dispute that one of America’s fastest-growing populations is dramatically underrepresented in all aspects of our public life.
“The Latino Victory Project was formed to solve that problem,” Cristobal said. “The candidates who were supported by its PAC today hold positions that reflect the values of the Latino community: immigration reform, education, a clean environment and access to quality healthcare. Those candidates were selected without regard to party, and the PAC will support others in the future who hold these same positions on these issues.”
Though she may be venturing into the political sphere with her new project, Longoria laughed off the idea of possibly running for office during a one-on-one interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos.
“No, gosh, no,” she said. “I mean, you think Hollywood’s dirty?!”
Longoria’s full interview with Ramos airs on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Fusion.