Nov 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Latinas to watch in the U.S. midterm elections

Pediatrician Dr. Yadira Caraveo, a Colorado Democrat, is pictured next to Anna Paulina Luna, a Florida Republican in side-by-side photos.

Pediatrician Yadira Caraveo, a Colorado Democrat, and, Anna Paulina Luna, a Florida Republican, are seeking US House seats. Photos: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images and Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Latina candidates from both parties could make unprecedented gains in Congress on Tuesday.

Why it matters: A fresh slate of Mexican American and Central American women are running for U.S. House seats in Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia and Maryland, highlighting the expanding influence of Latinos outside of the Sun Belt.

By the numbers: There are 50 Latino Democrats and 33 Hispanic Republicans running for the U.S. House of Representatives, according to both parties.

  • Currently, 40 U.S. House members — 9.2% are Latino, according to an Axios review of bios, previous candidate statements and family histories.
  • The majority of those seats (29) are held by Democrats, an Axios analysis found.

The intrigue: A record number of Latina Republicans are running for office, even in states with few Latino elected officials.

  • Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican Mexican American U.S. Air Force veteran, is running to replace U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) in a redistricted seat that is now leaning GOP. She could become Florida's first Mexican American woman in Congress.
  • Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Mexican American Republican and former small-town mayor, is running in a tight race in Oregon and could become one of the state's first Latinas in Congress.
  • Conservative Salvadoran Americans Yuripzy Morgan of Maryland and Yesli Vega of Virginia also are seeking to make history as the first Salvadoran American women in Congress.

Yes, but: Democratic Mexican American women candidates could also make history.

  • Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, is running in a tight Colorado race to become the state's first Latina in Congress.
  • Andrea Salinas, an Oregon state lawmaker, also is trying to become one of the state's first Latinas in Congress. She's in a close contest.

What they're saying: "In the case of the (rise of) Latina women who are running for office, I think that has something probably to do with the outreach that the Republicans have been doing," José Díaz-Balart, Anchor of MSNBC’s “José Díaz-Balart Reports,” “NBC Nightly News Saturday” and “Noticias Telemundo," told Axios.

  • Díaz-Balart said he will be watching for trends not just in House races but how well GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis does among Latino voters.
  • "I think our community is past the point of just standing idly by and being taken for granted or taken or being ignored. The participation of the Latino community is going to be loud and clear."
  • He will anchor “MSNBC Reports” at 10 am ET with ongoing election coverage throughout the week.

Of note: Three Mexican American Republican women are running for seats in South Texas – a traditional Democratic stronghold for decades.

  • A win for Monica De La Cruz, Mayra Flores and Cassy Garcia may signal another softening of Hispanic support for Democrats.

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