Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez (left) and Genny Castillo, Latinx constituency director for the Coordinated Campaign of the Georgia Democratic Party, address Hispanic voters and candidates at Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.
Photo: Amanda C. Coyne/AJC
Photo: Amanda C. Coyne/AJC

DNC Chair Tom Perez hits Kemp while speaking to DeKalb Latino voters

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez visited a small group of Hispanic and Latino voters at Buford Highway’s Plaza Fiesta on Wednesday, urging them to support gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and down-ballot Democrats. 

Perez, alternating between English and Spanish, advised them to defy what he called efforts to increase voter suppression by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor. 


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“Donald Trump and Brian Kemp want Latinos and other people to be afraid to vote,” Perez said in Spanish.

Latrice Latin, a Lawrenceville immigration attorney, said many of her clients feel they do not have equal access to the benefits of being in the United States even though they have gained legal permanent residency.

“You look at the ads of Stacey (Abrams)’s opponent, and those ads don’t surprise me. He’s a voter suppression expert,” Perez said. “As long as you have people like Brian Kemp in charge, people who like to demonize others in charge, that’s the direction you’ll be going in.”

Kemp has scoffed at those types of attacks. In a recent interview, he cited the online voter registration system that was launched under his tenure, along with new apps and a voter ambassador program.

“That narrative is just not true,” he said. “To be called a voter suppressor – nothing can be further from the truth when you look at the number of people added to the polls. We’ve bent over backwards to help get people to vote.”

There are 200,000 registered Latino and Hispanic voters in Georgia, and at least 50,000 more who are eligible to vote, but unregistered, Perez said. The DNC and state party are utilizing an “army of volunteers” in Georgia and across the country to register these voters and encourage higher turnout among Latinos and Hispanics, Perez said. 

“It is not something that we began yesterday, but something that has been in the works for many months,” Perez said. 

Perez also visited Abrams’ campaign headquarters in Atlanta, and plans to visit the city again soon, a DNC spokesman said. 

Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this story


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Friday marked the first time Abrams has spoken publicly since Republican nominee Brian Kemp won last week's runoff against Casey Cagle.

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