Latinos made history on Election Night securing victories in both political parties.
Across the nation, Latinos scored statewide victories, gaining and holding on to 12 seats in executive office. Now, the largest group of Latinos, 29 in total, will serve in the 114th U.S. Congress, scoring a few firsts in electoral representation.
“We witnessed Latino statewide executive office candidates win in non-traditional states nationwide, with Latinos also securing the numbers needed to form the largest congressional class of Latinos in history,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund in a statement. “Latinos will continue to shape the nation’s political landscape as candidates, demonstrating their ability to lead and win at all levels of office.”
Latino representation in the U.S. House of Representatives increased by one seat in the 114th Congress, bringing the total number of Latinos serving in this office to 29 — the largest class of Hispanics serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in history, with five new Latino members of Congress. They include: Ruben Gallego, D-AZ, who ran unopposed and filled the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Pator, D; Pete Aguilar, D-CA, the former Mayor who defeated Paul Chabot, R; Norma Torres, D-CA, who ran against small business owner Christina Gagnier, D to fill the seat; and Carlos Curbelo, R-FL, a Miami-Dade School Board member that defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in a very competitive congressional race.
The five new Latino member of Congress is Alex Mooney. For the first time in the state’s history, supporters in West Virginia voted for a Latino to represent them in Congress. Rep. Mooney, R, is the son of a Cuban refugee and Vietnam veteran, and former Chair of the Maryland Republican Party. He moved to West Virginia in 2013 and beat the former chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, Nick Casey, by winning 47 percent to 44 percent of the votes.
Mooney ran against the Affordable Care Act, the so-called “war on coal”, and to protect what he called “traditional values.” His campaign received money from outside groups including a super-PAC partially funded by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, according to the Charleston Gazette.
“For too long, President Obama and his allies have unilaterally usurped the power entrusted to Congress to inflict a host of painful regulations on our businesses and families,” Mooney said in his campaign acceptance speech. “President Obama, I hope you are listening, because tonight West Virginia has sent a message to you and your administration.”
The 29 Latino U.S. Representatives will join three Latino U.S. Senators, Ted Cruz, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.
Latinos also made gains in statewide executive office, with 12 Latinos winning positions, and two women becoming the first Latinas to win executive office positions.
In California, state senator Alex Padilla, D, beat Peter Peterson, R, to became the first Latino to serve as California Secretary of State.
Attorney and former council member Evelyn Sanguinetti, R, became the first Latina to serve as Illinois Lieutenant Governor. Former Rhode Island Deputy Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, D, became the first Latina to service as the New England Secretary of State. Former NALEO Education Fund board member, Hector Balderas, D, becomes New Mexico’s State Attorney General. Two incumbent Republican Latinos won their gubernatorial races — New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. And George P. Bush, R, won his race against former El Paso City Councilmember John Cook to become the first Latino to serve as Texas Land Commissioner.
NALEO Education Fund projected at least 7.8 million Latinos would cast ballots in the mid-terms elections, an increase of 1.2 million from the 2010 mid-term elections.
–Courtesy of Latin Post