Strong voter turnout helps Latino candidates make history

Above: Ruben Gallego was elected to serve another term as U.S. Representative for Arizona's 7th congressional district. A Democrat, Gallego is a first-generation American of Colombian and Mexican descent. Business News | 9 Nov |

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund today released its analysis assessing Latino gains in Congress and statewide office in 2018. A full roster of Latinos that will serve at these levels of office (including a breakdown by state and political party) is available here.

“Despite being ignored yet again by candidates and campaigns this year, Latino voters stepped up and made their voices heard in Election 2018,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund chief executive officer.  “A strong showing from Latino voters in Florida, Nevada and Texas helped Latino candidates secure milestone victories.”

As candidates, Latino leaders sought positions in Congress, statewide offices, and state legislatures across the nation in Election 2018.  Pursuing top offices in 36 states, Latino candidates ran in both traditional Latino population centers, and in regions with emerging Latino communities such as the Plains States, the Midwest, the Deep South, and New England.

Following Election 2018, the 116th Congress will feature the largest class of Latinos in history.  The U.S. House of Representatives will feature three more Latino members than in the 115th Congress, increasing from 34 to 37.  In Congress’ upper chamber, four Latinos will continue to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Key Findings from NALEO Educational Fund’s post-election analysis include:

Latinos in the U.S. Senate Post-Election 2018: The number of Latinos serving in the U.S. Senate will remain at four.  Both incumbent U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) won their re-election bids.  They will return to join current Latino U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Congress’ upper chamber.

Latinos in U.S. House of Representatives Post-Election 2018:

• Class: The number of Latinos serving in the U.S. House of Representatives will reach a historic high, increasing from 34 to 37.*

• Party Breakdown:  Following Election 2018, 32 Democrats and five Republicans will serve as Members of Congress (up from 27 Democrats and seven Republicans).

• Gender:  The number of Latinas serving in the U.S. House of Representatives will increase by three (25 Males and 12 Females) from the previous Congress (25 Males and nine Females).  Election 2018 also featured the election of the first two Latinas to represent Texas in Congress.

• New Faces:  There will be nine new faces when the U.S. House of Representatives gets sworn-in in the new year, including five new Latinas:

CA-49:  Mike Levin (D)

FL-26:  Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)

IL-4:  Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia (D)

NM-2: Xochitl Torres Small (D) – the first women elected to represent the district

NY-14:  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) – youngest person elected to Congress

NY-19:  Antonio Delgado (D)

OH-16:  Anthony Gonzalez (R) – first Latino Member of the House from Ohio

TX-16:  Veronica Escobar (D) – one of first two Latinas in House from Texas

TX-29:  Sylvia Garcia (D) – Former NALEO President and one of first two Latinas in House from Texas

Latinos in Statewide Office:

• Class: Following Election 2018, the number of Latinos in statewide office will increase from 13 to 14. This is a historic high for Latinos.

• Party Breakdown: There will be an increase in the number of Latino Democrats serving in statewide office, increasing from six to 11.  Latino Republicans serving in statewide office will decline, shifting from seven to three post-election.

• Gender: The number of Latinas serving in statewide office will increase by one (Nine Males and five Females).

• New Faces: 

  • NM: Michelle Lujan Grisham, Governor (D)
  • CA:  Ricardo Lara, Insurance Commissioner (D)
  • FL:  Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor (R) – first Latina to serve in this position in the state
  • NM:  Howie Morales, Lieutenant Governor (D)
  • NM:  Brian Colón, State Auditor (D)
  • NM:  Stephanie Garcia Richard, Commissioner of Public Lands (D)  

Vargas went on to say, “Latino candidates continue to demonstrate their ability to successfully run for office across all fifty states, winning bids in areas with both Latino population centers and without. There is no such thing as a Latino or non-Latino district anymore, with Latinos once again bringing the expertise and skill needed to build support from a broad coalition of Americans in Election 2018.”

A full roster of Latinos that will serve in the 116th Congress and statewide office is available here. The roster includes a breakdown of Congressional representation gains/losses by state, party and district.

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