Latinos made history in the 114th Congress, bringing the total number of Hispanics in Capitol Hill to 32 – 29 U.S. representatives and three U.S. senators.
The number of Latinos in Congress increased by one during the midterm election on Tuesday, from 28.
“Latino candidates made history on Election Night, securing groundbreaking victories in contests across the country and in both political parties,” Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO Educational Fund, said in a press release. “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. Latinos will continue to shape the nation’s political landscape as candidates, demonstrating their ability to lead and win at all levels of office.”
Five Latinos are heading to the Capitol for the first time, three Democrats (Arizona’s Rubén Gallego, California’s Norma Torres and Pete Aguilar) and two Republicans (Florida’s Carlos Curbelo and West Virginia’s Alex Mooney).
Mooney, a Cuban-American, became the first Latino representative in West Virginia, the state with the smallest percentage of Hispanics in the nation.
Among the Latino candidates for Congress who failed to win election were Florida’s Joe García and Texas’ Pete Gallego, both of whom were running for reelection after just one term.
In California, Amanda Renteria wasn’t able to unseat the Republican incumbent David Valadao in District 21, while in Washington Pedro Celis lost to the Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBenis by just 9,000 votes, according to the Associated Press.
One of the most talked-about Latinas in the Republican Party, New Hampshire’s 31-year-old Marilinda García, lost to incumbent Ann Kuster by seven points.
Meanwhile, the only two Hispanic governors in the country and leading GOP figures, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, easily won reelection.
Also in Nevada, Democrat Lucy Flores lost the race for lieutenant governor to Republican Mark Hutchison.
In Illinois, Cuban-Ecuadorian Evelyn Sanguinetti became lieutenant governor as part of incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner’s ticket, while in Florida, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who is of Cuban descent, kept his post thanks to the victory of his running mate, Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Annette Tadeo, who is of Colombian descent, was hoping to replace Lopez-Cantera as part of Democrat Charlie Crist’s ticket.
Finally, in Texas, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte failed in her attempt to become the first woman elected lieutenant governor in the state. And George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, became the first Latino to hold the post as Texas land commissioner.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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