María Elvira Salazar again lands LIBRE Initiative endorsement, ad backing
Maria Elvira Salazar. Image via AP.

Salazar
The LIBRE Initiative is a pro-Hispanic interest group backed by the Koch family network.

Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar will again defend her seat next year with support from the LIBRE Initiative, a nonprofit that engages Hispanics to advocate for libertarian-leaning policies and politicians.

The organization’s political spending arm, LIBRE Initiative Action, on Wednesday announced its second consecutive endorsement of Salazar and plans to buy digital, television and radio ads supporting her re-election campaign.

“Since being elected to represent the people of Florida’s 27th Congressional District, Rep. María Elvira Salazar has prioritized the need to identify solutions for some of our country’s most pressing issues,” LIBRE Initiative Action senior adviser Jose Mallea said in a statement.

“Instead of waiting for others to lead, Rep. Salazar has rolled up her sleeves, gotten to work, and introduced legislation to promote economic opportunity while looking for ways to improve our country’s immigration system.”

Founded in 2011 as part of the Koch network, the LIBRE Initiative has pushed for moderate immigration and criminal justice reforms, among other things, while opposing big-government programs like the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) and Inflation Reduction Act.

That makes Salazar, a former TV journalist-turned-popular South Florida politician, a rather apt recipient of its resources. While she opposed repealing the ACA if a viable replacement wasn’t presented, she has been an outspoken opponent of President Joe Biden’s signature economic package.

She also attracted praise from the group for her most prominent piece of legislation, a voluminous immigration-reform package called “The Dignity Act” that among other things would enable undocumented migrants to pay their way into permanent residency or citizenship, with much of the money going toward customs and border control.

Accordingly, Salazar netted a nod and ad support from LIBRE Initiative Action during the 2022 election cycle as well. The group at the time noted her prioritization of “pro-growth economic policies (that) ensure South Florida and this country remain a place of opportunity and prosperity that has drawn so many to these shores.”

Salazar defeated Democrat Donna Shalala in 2020, flipping CD 27 red in a rematch of their clash from two years before. She won by about 2 percentage points. Just two years later, she trounced former Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo with more than 57% of the vote.

This cycle, she faces a challenge from Democrat Lucia Báez-Geller, a first-term Miami-Dade County School Board member who has distinguished herself as the panel’s most progressive member.

Báez-Geller has already begun to criticize Salazar for voting to limit access to an abortion pill, perpetuating a widely discredited theory involving voter fraud in the 2020 election and general ineffectiveness as a lawmaker; of 42 pieces of legislation Salazar has filed since taking office, just one resolution denouncing socialism has passed in the House.

A 501(c)4 group, the LIBRE Initiative describes itself as a “grassroots organization dedicated to amplifying the voice of the Hispanic community.” Much of its funding comes through Americans for Prosperity, Koch family network.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


One comment

  • MH/Duuuval

    November 30, 2023 at 9:10 am

    Taddeo was a far better candidate, but waving the red flag always gets the bulls going in Miami.

Comments are closed.


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