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Patrick Murphy hires Barack Obama’s 2008 Hispanic media manager to aid his campaign

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A recent poll showed that Democratic Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy has some work to do to build up his name recognition amongst Florida’s Latino voters. A recent Univision News survey showed that 6 in 10 Hispanic voters don’t know who he is.

In an attempt to change that equation, the Murphy camp announced on Thursday that they have hired Freddy Balsera to serve as Chief of Hispanic Communications and Strategy, focusing primarily on media, communications and outreach. The campaign says Balsera will advise the campaign on messaging and strategy with regard to the Latino community.

“Freddy is a top tier communications professional with deep insight into Florida’s Hispanic communities and we are thrilled to have him join our campaign,” said Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf. “His experience, connections, and skill set will be an invaluable asset to ensure that Florida’s diverse Hispanic communities know Patrick Murphy and what he stands for. Patrick’s message of fighting for immigration reform and strengthening Florida’s middle class continues to resonate with voters and Freddy will help make sure that message reaches Floridians across the state.”

That Univision poll had incumbent GOP Senator Marco Rubio up seven points over Murphy with Hispanic voters.

Balsera served as President Barack Obama’s 2008 Hispanic media manager and was also a national finance committee member for both of his presidential campaigns. He co-wrote and produced all of the Spanish media messages broadcast by the Obama campaign, and currently has been serving as a top Democratic surrogate in Spanish-language media and as a political analyst for Telemundo during the current election cycle.

I’m excited to join Patrick Murphy’s campaign and look forward to helping him cross the finish line in November,” said Balsera in a statement supplied by the Murphy campaign. “This Senate election is critical for Florida’s Hispanic community. We can’t afford another six years of Marco Rubio abandoning us on immigration reform, fighting for special interests, and putting his personal political ambition above Florida families. Patrick will show up and work hard to fix our broken immigration system, strengthen the middle class, and make sure the voices of Florida’s Hispanic community are heard in the U.S. Senate. I will do everything I can to help Patrick reach Hispanic communities across Florida and ensure he is our next U.S. Senator.”

POLITICO reported last year that Balsera had alienated some Democrats in Miami-Dade County by endorsing Republican Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s 26 Congressional District race against Democrat Joe Garcia. He’s also worked for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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