The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), says a total of 49 Latino candidates are seeking House seats this year. The group says at least 27 are likely to win on Nov. 6, including 22 incumbents or Latinos who would replace other Latinos.
According to the Associated Press, the combined group of candidates have the potential to make history as the largest class of Latinos ever to enter Congress, “in the largest increase in seats held by Latinos in a single election.”
Latinos are running for state legislative offices in 39 of the nation’s states. Of the 373 Latino state legislative candidates identified for this report, 265 (71%) are running in states which are the traditional Latino population centers (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas). More than one-fourth of the candidates (108 or 29%) are running in other states, a sign that Latinos are mobilizing for enhanced electoral opportunities in regions with emerging Latino communities such as the Plains States, the Midwest, and the Deep South.
Latinos in State Senates: After the 2012 general election, the number of Latinos in State Senates could increase by as many as 10, from 67 to 77.
Latinos in state lower houses: After the 2012 general election, the number of Latinos in state lower houses could increase by as many as 27, from 190 to 217.
The outcome of the 2012 state legislative elections may also provide some insights into the impact of certain political and policy trends on Latino representation. The election results will help reveal the extent to which Latino candidates were able to prevail in districts created during the 2011-2012 redistrictings to provide the Latino community with enhanced electoral opportunities. In California, as a result of a ballot measure which established the state’s “top two” primary system, candidates of the same political party are facing each other in the general election in some districts, and the outcome may help inform the public dialogue about the impact of this system on Latino candidates - a dialogue which is also occurring in the 2012 election season as Arizona voters decide whether to adopt a similar ballot measure.
Depending on how many Latino candidates win, the percentage of House seats held by Latinos could be nearly on par with their representation in the U.S. population.