The new Latino class of Congress for 2023
Voters have sent more Latino representatives to Washington than ever before in 2023.
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The 2022 midterm elections proved to be successful for Democrats and the Latino community, as there is now a new record number of Latinos in Congress. The Latino vote was heavily discussed in coverage ahead of the 2022 midterms and more than ever before, Latino candidates carried the banners for their parties in some key Congressional races and won.
Democrats will welcome nine new Latino representatives from nine different states, while the GOP will have four new Latinos in Congress.
Latino and Black youth came out in droves to vote during the most recent midterms, which made the difference and decided key races across the country. Latino representation in Congress has now increased for the second consecutive year, which for future generations, is something to also look forward to.
Get to know the new faces below:
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Wash.) defeated Republican and Trump-endorsed Joe Kent, with 50.4% of the vote in Washington’s Third Congressional District. She will replace Latina Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. A newcomer in politics, she was not expected to win a seat that’s been in Republican control for over a decade. Gluesenkamp Perez owns an auto repair shop with her husband, is a new mother, and ran a campaign on helping small businesses, and protecting reproductive rights.
Democrat Greg Casar (Texas) overwhelmingly defeated Republican Dan McQueen 72.6% to 27.4% in Texas’ 35th Congressional District, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio. His win is huge for Democrats as they further expand their influence in some of the state’s more liberal cities and the Rio Grande Valley. The 33-year-old has seven years of experience serving in the Austin City Council.
Democrat Rob Menendez (N.J.) is the son of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and with his win will succeed Cuban-American Rep. Albio Sires (D) in New Jersey’s Eighth Congressional District. He is also a practicing lawyer and in 2021, became the first Latino commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Democrat Robert Garcia (Calif.) defeated Republican challenger John Briscoe 68.4% to 31.6% in California’s 42nd Congressional District. He has been Mayor of Long Beach since 2014, where he built up his political relationships and his credibility. Garcia is the first Peruvian-American and openly-LGBTQ+ Latino elected to Congress, and now represents a heavily-Latino district in Congress.
Democrat Delia Ramírez (Illinois) is the first Latina elected to Congress from the Midwest, and won a heavily Latino district based predominantly in Chicago. She is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, and served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2018. She now joins Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.) as the state's second Latino representative. She might soon be the sole Illinois rep, as García is running for Chicago Mayor.
Democrat Andrea Salinas (Ore.) defeated Republican Mike Erickson, 50.1% to 47.6% in Oregon’s Sixth Congressional District. Salinas will be the first to rep the newly-created district in Oregon. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and Vietnam War veteran and has nearly a quarter century of experience in public service.
Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.) defeated Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 51.1% to 48.9% in Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District. She was recently Mayor of Happy Valley for eight years from 2010-2018. She and Salinas are the first Latinas ever elected to Congress from Oregon.
Republican George Santos (N.Y.) is a person of many firsts. His recent win in New York’s Third Congressional District makes him the first Brazilian-American and the first openly-gay non-incumbent Republican to go to Congress. Santos is one of other New York Republicans who downed some Democratic candidates in the state to wrest control of the House. Santos will replace Thomas Suozzi (N.Y.), who lost to Gov. Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary for governor.
Republican Monica De La Cruz (Texas) defeated Democratic challenger Michelle Vallejo 53.3% to 44.8% in Texas’ 15th Congressional District. De La Cruz was helped by a redrawn map that made her district more Republican leaning. She first ran against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) in 2020 and was within three points of winning before redistricting. For now, she represents the huge Latino population in the Rio Grande Valley, and will look to push conservative legislation in the area.
Democrat Gabe Vasquez (New Mexico) will replace Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell (N.M.) in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, winning a district that has had multiple party changes. He was born in El Paso but also lived on the other side of the border in Mexico. Vasquez is a former Las Cruces City councilmember.
Democrat Yadira Caraveo (Colo.) narrowly defeated her Republican opponent Barbara Kirkmeyer 48.4% to 47.7% to represent Colorado’s Eighth Congressional District, where a huge Latino population helped her get the win. She is a pediatrician, and now the second medical professional to be in Congress after Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.). Since 2019, she has represented parts of her district in the state House of Representatives.
Republican Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.) is an Air Force veteran and will occupy the seat in Florida’s District 13 of former Rep. Charlie Crist, who was beaten in the state’s governor’s race by Gov. Ron DeSantis. She previously ran against Crist in 2020, but lost under a map that was recently redrawn to lean more Republican.
Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost (Fla.) has been one of the bigger stars to emerge from these past midterms as he won to become the first Gen-Z member of Congress in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. He has been politically active and has been an organizer for a decade now, despite being only 25 years old. The Sunshine state became incredibly red, but Frost’s win is a glimmer of hope for Democrats in the state.