Latino Group Expects Gains in Congressional Elections

Posted October 23, 2012 at 2:02pm

The number of Latinos elected to the new Congress will increase by at least three seats in the House and one seat in the Senate, a national Latino advocacy group projects.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said Wednesday that rapid growth in the number of Latino voters — one Latino turns 18 every 30 seconds and at least 12.2 million are expected to cast ballots Nov. 6 — will bring more Latino lawmakers to Washington as Members of the 113th Congress.

The number of Latinos in the House is very likely to increase from 24 to 27 and could reach 31, the organization has concluded.

NALEO identified five Latino House candidates with “excellent prospects” of being newly elected to the House in November. All five are Democrats: Tony Cardenas and Juan Vargas in California’s 29th and 51st districts; Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico’s 1st district; and Joaquin Castro and Filemon Vela Jr. in Texas’ 20th and 34th districts.

Roll Call rates all five races as Safe Democratic.

NALEO said it is all but certain Texas Republican Senate nominee Ted Cruz will defeat Democrat Paul Sadler to become the chamber’s third Latino member, joining Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who is favored to win his own re-election race.

The group noted that Arizona Democrat Richard Carmona is in a close race with Republican Rep. Jeff Flake for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R).

Roll Call rates the Texas race as Safe Republican and the Arizona contest as a Tossup.

Nationally, the number of Latino voters is expected to increase by more than 25 percent from 2008, said Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s executive director. He said Latinos could play a decisive role in the presidential election because the battleground state of Florida expects a 35 percent increase in Latino voting, compared with the number casting ballots in 2008.