GOP sees slight Latino vote gains, painful candidate losses

Nov 20, 2022, 2:00 PM

MIAMI (AP) — Republicans had placed hopes on a roster of Latina candidates around the country as they looked to make gains with Latino voters in a midterm election that some had predicted would yield sweeping GOP victories.

The verdict was mixed.

While Republican House candidates made modest inroads among Latino voters in 2022 compared with 2018, several GOP Latina candidates in high-profile races lost.

Overall, the House will see a net gain of at least eight Latino members, with seven of them being Democrats, according to a tally by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

With the additions, the Republican Party will now have 11 Latino House members, while Democrats will have 35, with one race featuring a Democratic Latino still undecided, NALEO said. That will bring the total Latino representation in Congress to 11%, lower than the 19% Latino population in the U.S.

“It obviously is not the outcome many of us were expecting, but it still brings hope,” said Wadi Gaitan, communications director for the conservative group Libre Initiative, which mobilizes Latino voters to help get Republicans elected. “Inroads inspire Latinos and Latinas to look for office.”

The blows were felt in Texas and in Virginia, where Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger prevailed over Republican Yesli Vega, a daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, in one of the country’s most expensive and competitive races. Vega, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is a former police officer who co-chaired Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Latino voter coalition last year.

In South Texas, Democrats held on to two of three heavily Latino districts aggressively targeted by Latina Republican candidates, who dubbed themselves the “spicy tacos” after a comment by first lady Jill Biden that Latinos were “as unique” as San Antonio breakfast tacos. She later apologized for the remark.

The GOP scored a victory with Latina businesswoman Monica de la Cruz winning a newly redrawn district there. But in a rare race between two sitting members of Congress — both Latinos — in a Democratic-leaning district, Republican U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores was ousted.

Flores, who made history in a special election earlier this year by becoming the first Mexican-born congresswoman, said the heavily Hispanic region has always been conservative, with a focus on faith and family values, leading to a growing GOP impact.

“The future of South Texas is Republican. We didn’t go backwards,” Flores said. “Little by little, we are going to make bigger impacts.”

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earned a slightly larger percentage of Latino voters in 2022 than he did four years ago, 42% now vs. 35% then, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of almost 3,400 voters in the state.

Dorian Caal, director of civic engagement research at NALEO, cautions against making wide assumptions, saying the real breakdown of Latino support needs to be analyzed down to precincts, which can take time.

“It really comes down to not taking the Latino vote for granted,” Caal said.

In Florida, Republicans invested heavily and gains were pronounced, according to AP VoteCast. More than half of Latino voters backed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, compared with fewer than half in 2020 supporting Trump. DeSantis earned a somewhat higher percentage of Latino voters this year than he did in 2018. He also became the first Republican governor since Jeb Bush in 2002 to win Miami-Dade, the state’s largest county and one with an influential immigrant population.

Many analysts highlighted the landslide victory in Florida, saying the GOP needs to replicate the model around the country. While aligning with Trump may have hurt candidates in other areas, it helped them in Florida.

Republicans increased their Latino representation in the House by adding Anna Paulina Luna, who has Mexican ancestry and won a newly redrawn district. Luna has said she believes Trump won the 2020 election and earlier this year promoted a film that has been discredited that claims people were paid to travel among drop boxes and stuff them with fraudulent ballots during the 2020 presidential vote.

Another victory scored by the GOP turned into a milestone in Oregon when Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer flipped a district red. She and Democrat Andrea Salinas, who won in another district, will be the first Latina congresswomen from Oregon.

In Nevada, Democrats held on to Senate control with the victory of incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, the first and only Latina in the Senate.

Melissa Morales, founder of Somos PAC, a group that mobilizes Latino voters for Democrats, said Latinos were key in getting Cortez Masto reelected. Cortez Masto won 60% of Latino votes, according to AP VoteCast.

“We are not a sleeping giant. We are strategic giant,” said Morales. “At the end of the day, there can always be more investment. That’s what we will be pushing for.”

Back in South Texas, Democratic U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who defeated Flores, shares the sentiment, saying the party must increase its investment in Latino communities and prioritize the “meat and potatoes” issues that are important to local voters.

“The only way to turn more of Texas blue is raising large amounts of resources,” Gonzalez said.


Coronado reported from Austin, Texas. Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.


Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

FILE - Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young speaks about the possible government...

Associated Press

White House warns Congress the US is out of money, nearly out of time to avoid ‘kneecap’ to Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it. In a letter to House and Senate leaders […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at home in Washington state kills 5 including the suspected shooter, report says

ORCHARDS, Wash. (AP) — Five people were killed in a shooting at a Washington state home where police said the deceased included the suspected shooter, according to a news report. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said officers found the bodies inside a home in Orchards, Washington, following a call around 1 p.m. Sunday, KGW8-TV reported. […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive but Palestinians are running out of places to go

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel’s military renewed calls Monday for mass evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks, as it widened its ground offensive and bombarded targets across the Gaza Strip. The expanded operations, following the expiration of a […]

5 hours ago

The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is shown on April 18, 2019. A top Mormon church official lea...

Associated Press

Takeaways from The AP’s investigation into the Mormon church’s handling of sex abuse cases

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Paul Rytting had been director of the Risk Management Division at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for around 15 years when a 31-year-old church member told him that her father, a former bishop, had sexually abused her when she was a child. Rytting flew from church headquarters in […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace gestures as he makes an election campaign speech for his wife...

Associated Press

The next Republican debate is in Alabama, the state that gave the GOP a road map to Donald Trump

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican presidential candidates will debate Wednesday within walking distance of where George Wallace staged his “stand in the schoolhouse door” to oppose the enrollment of Black students at the University of Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The state that propelled Wallace, a Democrat and four-term governor, into national politics is now […]

8 hours ago

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen before sunrise on Capitol Hill in Washington, March. 21, 2022...

Associated Press

OxyContin maker bankruptcy deal goes before the Supreme Court on Monday, with billions at stake

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would shield members of the Sackler family who own the company from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids. The agreement hammered out with state and local governments and victims would provide billions of dollars to […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

GOP sees slight Latino vote gains, painful candidate losses