Feb 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Latinos are a flourishing force on ballots

Illustration of three speech podiums, with two unoccupied by any politician

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

More than 7,000 Latinos held elected office in 2021, a 75% increase since 2oo1, a report by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) found.

The big picture: Although that's a record-high number of Latinos in 0ffice, they are still less than 2% of elected officials nationwide — but roughly 18% of the population.

Zoom in: New York and California saw the largest growth in elected Latinos, but over half of all Latinos in office live in California and Texas, according to the report.

  • Latinos make up less than 10% of the U.S. House of Representatives, and there are six Latinos in the U.S. Senate.

Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist working to boost Latino candidates, blamed the dearth on the lack of access to funding.

  • Rocha also told Axios having more Latino campaign advisers and consultants will improve candidates' standings, especially in Hispanic communities.

What they're saying: "The 2020 election once again showed us that Latino voters are politically and ideologically diverse," Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO, tells Axios Latino.

  • "This reality highlights the opportunities for both parties to make further and new inroads with Latino communities by uplifting the wide variety of Latino candidates."
  • But Latinos in statewide and national offices are mostly Democrats.

What to watch: Nearly 30 Latino candidates have announced their bid for federal and state-level office in the 2022 election cycle.

  • Latinos are running for governor this year in Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon. Michelle Luján Grisham, the nation's first Democratic Latina governor, is running for re-election in New Mexico.
  • "There is an enthusiasm and an energy that keeps building up in the Latino community with each election year because our people want to have a voice in our government," Nathalie Rayes, CEO of Latino Victory Fund, told Axios.

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