Latino candidates make history

Latino Congressional candidates made history on Election Night, based on analysis of unofficial election results and media reports released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

The 113th Congress will feature 28 Latinos in the U.S. House of Representatives, making it the largest class in our nation’s history.  Nine Latino members of the new Congress will serve in the U.S. House for the first time, including the following individuals:

In a competitive race for the 36th congressional district inCalif., Dr. Raul Ruiz (D) unseated U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), where he will serve as the first Latino to represent the eastern part ofRiversideandCoachellaValleyarea;

  • Los Angeles City Councilmember Tony Cardenas (D) will become the first Latino U.S. Representative from Southern Calif.’s San Fernando Valley area (29th congressional district);
  • State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) in the 35th congressional district of Calif., who unseated U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (D) in a close race;
  • TexasState Rep. Joaquin Castro (D), who ran in theSan Antonioarea (20th congressional district), will fill the seat vacated by current Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charles Gonzalez (D);
  • In a rematch in the 26th district of Fl., Joe Garcia (D) defeated U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R);
  • Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who won in N. M.,’sAlbuquerquearea (1st congressional district), will be the firstLatinain the state to serve as U.S. Rep.;
  • Attorney Filemon Vela, Jr. (D) won in a newly-created district in South Texas that extends north from the Gulf Coast up to Gonzales County (34th congressional district);
  • Calif. State Senator Juan Vargas (D), who was victorious in a district that encompasses parts of three counties in the southernmost part of the state (51st congressional district); and
  • Texas State Rep. Pete Gallego (D), who defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) in an extremely competitive race forTexas’ 23rd congressional district.

Joining the U.S. Senate in the 113th Congress will be a third Latino. Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) will join reelected Senator Robert Menendez (D) and Marco Rubio, making history by winning his race against former State Rep. Paul Sadler (D) to become the first Latino to represent Texasin the U.S. Senate.

“Latinos played a key role in shaping the nation’s political landscape this year,” stated Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO Educational Fund. “Latinos demonstrated their power as both voters at the ballot box last night, and as congressional candidates that will make history in the 113th Congress.”

Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX 20) released the following statement regarding the results of last night’s election:

“It has been said many times over the airwaves, but last night proved without a doubt that Hispanic voters are paying attention and can be counted in great numbers.

“With last night’s election results, the CHC welcomes Tony Cardenas, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Dr. Raul Ruiz and Juan Vargas of California; Joaquin Castro, Pete Gallego and Filemon Vela of Texas; Joe Garcia of Florida and Michelle Luján Grisham of New Mexico. These new members will bring their experience and leadership to benefit the CHC and will enrich Congress not only with their understanding of the Hispanic community, but with what is needed for our nation.

“The Latino vote has demonstrated its essential role in local, state and presidential elections and the 2012 election will be remembered as the cycle that showed just how critical it is to understand the issues that affect the Hispanic community. Strident and extreme positions and the lack of support for legislation promoting public education, affordable health care and economic policies that increase opportunities for Latino communities did not go unnoticed.

“Last night, the Republican Party that believes it can derive its success from dividing Americans was shown that it is on a wrong course. The CHC and its new members are dedicated to reaching out in good faith to House Republicans so that we can engage in a constructive dialogue and we are hopeful that they will join us and President Obama in finding common sense solutions that challenges facingAmericatoday.”
A full list of Latino candidates elected to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives for the 113th Congress is available on our website at

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