NALEO’s ‘Races to Watch’ Analysis Focuses on Where Latino Candidates Are Running for Office in 2020

Oct 29, 2020
3:51 PM

On the Thurdsay before Election Day, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released an Election 2020 analysis of key races that higlight where Latino candidates will be running for office.

According to NALEO’s “Key Races” document, Latinos are expected to make electoral gains at both the federal and state levels following Election 2020. The analysis noted that Latino candidates are running for top offices in 36 states, including in parts of the country that are experiencing emerging Latino communities.

“Latino candidates are once again demonstrating an ability to compete all across the country,” Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Chief Executive Officer, said in a release about the analysis. “As the second-largest population in the nation, Latinos are continuing to realize a growing political influence. In addition, the emergence of new presidential battleground states with large Latino populations is establishing the community as a critical component to an electoral victory, affecting races up and down the ballot.”

The analysis included several findings. Here are some that NALEO has highlighted:

  • The number of Latinos in the U.S. Senate could increase from four to five if New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D), who has excellent prospects of winning, emerges victorious in his contest against meteorologist and television personality Mark Ronchetti (R) for the seat held by retiring Senator Tom Udall (D).
    • None of the Senate’s four Latino incumbents are up for re-election in 2020:  Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
  • Latinos in the U.S. House of Representatives could increase by as many as six, from 39 to 45, with the likely addition of several new Latinos post-Election 2020.  Races include:
    • California: Latino candidates in tough but competitive races are Obama Administration official Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) running against former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) in the 50th Congressional District, and in the 53rd Congressional District, San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez (D) running to fill an open seat against children’s advocate Sara Jacobs (D).
    • Indiana: Latina former State Assemblymember Christina Hale (D) has good prospects of prevailing in her 5th Congressional District open-seat contest against former State Senator Victoria Spartz (R) for the seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R). If she wins, Hale would be the first Latina to represent Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    • Kansas: Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla (D) is in an extremely competitive race against Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R) in the 2nd Congressional District. If Mayor De La Isla wins, she would be the first Latina to represent Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    • New Mexico: In the 3rd Congressional District, attorney Teresa Leger Fernández (D) has good prospects of prevailing in the open seat contest against engineer Alexis Martínez Johnson (R) for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D), who is pursuing a seat in the U.S. Senate.
    • New York: New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D) has good prospects of emerging victorious against Patrick Delices (R) in the 15th Congressional District contest for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. José Serrano (D).
    • Texas: In the 23rd Congressional District, Navy veteran Tony Gonzales (R) is facing Filipina Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones (D) in an extremely competitive race for the seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R).  In the 24th Congressional District, another competitive race, former Carrollton-Farmers Branch School Board Member Candace Valenzuela (D) is running in an open seat race against former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne (R) for the seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R).
  • At the statewide executive level, five Latino candidates are running in four states, including Arizona (two), Delaware, Utah, and Washington.
  • The number of Latinos in State Senates could increase from 86 to 98 after Election 2020, with potential net gains in Arizona (three), California (three), Colorado (one), Connecticut (one), Georgia (one), Illinois (one), Massachusetts (one), Ohio (one), and Wyoming (one). Tennessee will lose its sole Latino state senator, retiring veteran legislator Dolores Gresham (R).
  • In state lower houses, there could be a net increase in the total number of Latinos from 243 to 254.
    • Texas may see the largest potential net gain (seven), followed by Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island (two each).
    • States with a potential net increase of one Latino, including many with emerging Latino communities: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
    • States which could see net losses include Arizona (three), alongside Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont, all potentially seeing one or two net decreases.

The full analysis is below: