Sharron Angle's Campaign Denounces 'Don't Vote' Ad in Nevada; Backer Linked to the GOP

Ad by Latino Group says not to vote because of broken promises on immigration.

ByABC News
October 20, 2010, 1:31 PM

Oct. 20, 2010— -- Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle's campaign today denounced a controversial ad urging Hispanic voters in Nevada not to vote -- but Democrats replied that isn't sufficient. The ad caused national uproar after reports linked its sponsor to Republicans.

"No ad should ever discourage voters from voting or expressing their opinions at the ballot box," Angle's spokesman Jarrod Agen said in a statement to ABC News.

Angle said in a radio interview today that not encouraging voters to come out would be "exactly the wrong thing to do in this election."

Sen. Harry Reid's campaign had blasted Angle's silence on the issue as "reprehensible," and the Senate majority leader accused her of "trying to keep people from voting."

"The fact that Sharron Angle refused to speak out against these truly abhorrent tactics should tell all Nevadans, and especially the Hispanic voters she'd prefer be silenced, everything they need to know about why she's unfit to represent our state in the U.S. Senate," Reid's spokesman Kelly Steele said in a statement.

The "Don't Vote" ad, made by a little-known group called Latinos for Reform, encourages Hispanics stay away from the polls as a way to send a message to Democrats.

"Clearly, the Democratic leadership betrayed us," the English-language ad goes. "And now, when they need our votes, they are at it again with more empty promises."

"This November, we need to send a message to all politicians. If they can't keep their promise on immigration reform, then they can't count on our vote. Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals," it continues. "Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted. Don't vote."

Robert de Posada, the group's head, says the ad doesn't specifically target Democrats, but no Republican lawmakers are shown in either the English or the Spanish-language ads.

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Hispanic groups from around the country were quick to denounce the effort. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said, "It is the height of cynicism to encourage voters to make themselves irrelevant by not exercising their right to be heard. This harkens back to attempts earlier this year at having Latinos boycott the U.S. Census."

The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce said it was "disheartened by the ads."

"We encourage all eligible community members to participate in the election and voting processes. We have worked very hard over the years to promote Hispanic participation in the voting process and were disheartened by the ads produced by Latinos for Reform that discouraged voting. We are pleased that the ads have been stopped," Luis Valera, chairman of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce's board, said in a statement to ABC News.

Univision yanked the ads from its stations, and distanced itself from de Posada, who has provided political commentary on Univision in the past. De Posada didn't return ABC News' calls seeking comment.

"Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote," a Univision spokesman said.

The ad aired on Univision's radio station five times.

The Hispanic vote is crucial to Reid's campaign. Hispanics make up more than a quarter of Nevada's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and comprise 14 percent of all eligible voters in Nevada this year.