RNC officials quickly pounced on Alvillar’s exit as a sign that both parties are struggling to retain Hispanics. Indeed, the DNC isn’t doing much better at retaining top Latino hires.
Albert Morales, who led the group’s Hispanic affairs office, departed shortly after the DNC’s presidential debate co-hosted by Univision and The Washington Post in March. It was his third tour of duty and he privately expressed concerns that top DNC leaders were once again improperly funding Hispanic voter registration and outreach programs, according to several people familiar the move. He has since joined the nonpartisan U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
More recently, Pablo Manriquez, a top Hispanic media official who served as a party spokesman on Spanish-language television and helped book Spanish-speaking party surrogates on news programs, also departed to join Morales at the USHCC. He has also expressed concerns about the party’s focus on Latino voters, according to multiple contacts.
The DNC released figures this spring showing that 7.4 percent of its workforce is Hispanic, compared with 18 percent African American and 8 percent Asian or Pacific Islander. The RNC hasn’t released such statistics but has launched minority outreach and hiring programs in the past, with limited success.
Members of both parties say that they struggle to recruit because there are so few minority political operatives to choose from at the national level. A Democratic congressional aide recently posted a Facebook photo of a gathering of Latino congressional staffers. Of the tens of thousands of House and Senate staffers, just 50 are Latino men, he said.
Alvillar’s departure comes as Democrats have settled on a likely nominee, and the Clinton campaign is widely expected to install or overlay its loyalists in key positions within the DNC. And several sources say Alvillar had disagreements with Clinton loyalists dating back to 2008 and that there was some dissatisfaction within the DNC about the political office.
Both Alvillar and the DNC denied that his departure was in any way related to his performance.
“I’m proud of the strong political operation we’ve built and that the private sector took notice,” Alvillar said in a statement. “My departure is about the opportunity this moment represents on a personal and professional level, while my friendship and trust with colleagues at the DNC and the campaigns is as strong as it has ever been.”
“As for 2008, if anyone really believes there are animosities from that primary then they must have been under a rock yesterday,” he added, referring to Obama’s endorsement of Clinton on Thursday.
Alvillar said that he is weighing several potential options for his next move, possibly in the technology sector.
“Raul is a respected colleague and a good friend to us at the DNC, and while we hate to lose him, we are happy for him on the exciting moves he’s making,” added DNC spokesman Luis Miranda.
Alvillar’s post at the DNC is widely expected to be filled in consultation with the Clinton campaign. But one source at the DNC — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about ongoing discussions — said it is not yet clear who would fill the role or how Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters would seek to staff the already anemic political office at the DNC.