MIAMI ( Associated Press) – Republicans are pinning their hopes on a nationwide slate of Hispanic candidates, seeking to gain footing with Latino voters for midterm elections that some predicted would sweep Republicans.
The verdict was mixed.
While the party’s House candidates made modest gains among Hispanic voters in 2022 compared to 2018, several Latino Republican candidates lost in high-profile races.
Overall, there would be a net gain of at least eight Latino members in the lower house, seven of whom are Democrats, according to calculations by NALEO, a US organization of Latino executives.
With the additions, Republicans will now have 11 Latino members in the House of Representatives, while Democrats will have 35, and a race with Latino Democrats has yet to be determined, NALEO said. This would bring total Hispanic representation in Congress to 11%, compared to 19% for the Latino population in the United States.
“Obviously this is not the result many of us were hoping for, but it is encouraging,” said Wadi Gaitan, communications director for the conservative Initiative Libre group, which mobilizes Latino voters in support of Republicans.
The losses occurred in Texas and Virginia, where Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger defeated Republican Yesly Vega, the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, in one of the country’s most expensive and competitive contests. Vega, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is a former police officer who last year co-chaired Republican Gov. Glen Youngkin’s coalition of Latino voters.
In South Texas, Democrats are sticking to two of the three districts contested by Latino Republican candidates.
Republicans won the newly created district with businesswoman Monica de la Cruz. But in a rare contest between two Latino congresswomen in a Democratic-leaning district, Republican Representative Mayra Flores lost.
Flores, who earlier this year made history by becoming the first Mexican-born congresswoman to win a special election, said the predominantly Hispanic region has always been conservative with a focus on faith and family values, which has benefited her party. it happens.
“The future of South Texas is Republican. We will not back down,” Flores said. “Little by little, we’re going to have a greater impact.”
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott won a slightly higher percentage of Latino voters in 2022 than four years ago: 35% versus 42% this year, according to Associated Press VoteCast, a comprehensive poll of about 3,400 voters in the state.
In Florida, Republicans increased their Latino representation in the House with Anna Paulina Luna, a Mexican-born Trump supporter who won a district.
Coronado from Austin and Hannah Fingerhut reported from Washington.