May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Latino candidates to watch in 2022

Illustration of a magnifying glass over a “I voted” sticker

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

From the American Southwest to New England, Latino candidates are seeking to break barriers in statewide races and flip seats traditionally held by opposing parties.

Why it matters: If successful, the up-and-coming candidates could quickly become the faces of their parties and catapult themselves onto the national stage.

Who to watch: Zack Quintero, Democratic candidate for New Mexico state auditor, would be one of the nation's youngest statewide elected Hispanic officials at 31. He's running on an anti-corruption platform.

  • Monica De La Cruz, a Republican candidate for a U.S. House seat, is one of a trio of Latina GOP congressional hopefuls who could flip traditionally Democratic seats in South Texas. The others are Cassy Garcia and Mayra Flores.
  • Maxwell Alejandro Frost, an Afro Cuban Democrat and gun violence survivor, is hoping to thwart Republican Cuban American power in Florida and win a central Florida seat representing Orlando.
  • Puerto Rican-born Raúl Labrador, a Republican and former congressman, is seeking to become Idaho's attorney general.

The intrigue: Sonia Chang-Díaz, a former teacher and the first Latina and Asian American to serve in the Massachusetts Senate, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in Massachusetts.

  • Some Massachusetts cities, like Lawrence and Chelsea, are majority Latino.

Don't forget: New Mexico Republicans are attracting a record number of Hispanic candidates for state House seats.

  • New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics of any state. It's also dominated by Democrats, who control the governor's office, legislature, two U.S. Senate seats and two of three House seats.

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