For Latinos across the country, election 2012 symbolized much more than two candidates contending for presidential office; instead, the potential for change and new leadership was emphasized by the record number of Latinos who won or seats in both chambers of Congress. A total of 31.
According to the National Association for Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a total of 49 Latino candidates – 16 Republicans, 32 Democrats and one without party affiliation as allowed by California law – ran for House seats, making history as the largest number of Latino candidates to run for Congressional office. And in the U.S. Senate, Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) defeated former State Rep. Paul Sadler (D) to become first Hispanic to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, making the 113th Congress the most diverse ever.
With a class of candidates as varied as the first Latino to earn three graduate degrees from Harvard University (Democratic candidate Dr. Raul Ruiz, who ran in the 36th district of California), a small business owner (Barbara Carrasco who ran for office in the 16th district in Texas) and a former astronaut (“Astro” Jose Hernandez, a Democrat whose run for office in the 10th district of California was one of the year’s most highly publicized ), this year’s congressional race, more than any other in history, reflected the growing numbers of Latinos in the United States.
“For Latinos, we surely will be better represented on the issues we care about – education, immigration, wealth building and small business empowerment, and increasing Latino leadership across all sectors,” wrote political strategist Mickey Ibarra in an NBC Latino opinion piece in October. “For the nation, the implications can only be positive because as Latino success goes so goes American prosperity.”
Here’s a breakdown of wins and losses that helped make this year’s Congressional election one to remember.
Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) won the Texas Senate seat against former State Rep. Paul Salder (D)
Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) lost against U.S. Rep Jeff Flake (R)
Cuban-American incumbent U.S. Senator Robert Menendez defeated Joe Kyrillos (R), earning 60 percent of the vote.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) ran in the 3rd congressional district and won against Gabriela Saucedo Mercer (R).
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D) ran in Arizona’s 7th congressional district and won 80 percent of the vote, cinching a win against Libertarian candidate Joe Cobb.
Jose Hernandez (D) lost to U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R) in the 10th congressional district, earning 46 percent of votes.
Abel Maldonado (R) lost against U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D) in the 24th congressional district.
Dr. Raul Ruiz (D) won against U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) in a tight race with 51 percent of the vote in the 36th congressional district.
John Hernandez (D) lost against State Assembly member David Valdao (R) in the 21st congressional district.
Bob Flores (D) lost against U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D) in the 43rd congressional district.
U.S. Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (D) ran in the 32nd congressional district, winning 65 percent of the vote in opposition to David Miller (R).
Linda Sánchez (D) won in the 38th congressional district against opponent Benjamin Campos (R).
Loretta Sánchez (D) won in the 46th congressional district
U.S. Rep Joe Baca (D) lost against State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) in the 35th congressional district.
Tony Cardenas (D) ran and won against opponent David Hernandez in 29th congressional district.
State Senator Juan Vargas (D) won the race in the 51st congressional district.
Evelio “EJ” Otero (R) lost the 14th congressional district in a race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D).
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) won re-election in the 27th congressional district.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) won in the 25th congressional district.
Joe Garcia (D) won in the in the 26th congressional district.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Labrador (R) won office in the 1st congressional district against Jimmy Farris (D) with 31 percent of the vote.
Incumbent U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez (D) ran for re-election in the 4th congressional district and won against Hector Concepcion.
Irish-Mexican candidate Tony Hernandez (R) lost in his race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D)
John Oceguera (D) emerged victorious against U.S. Rep Joe Heck (R) in the 3rd congressional district
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D) ran for re-election in the 8th congressional district and won against opponent Maria Karczewski (R) with 78 percent of the vote.
Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) won in the 1st congressional district
Businesswoman and former college professor Evelyn Madrid Erhard (D) lost against in 2nd congressional district against incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R)
Incumbent U.S. Rep Ben Ray Lujan (D) won in 3rd congressional district
Incumbent U.S. Rep Nydia Velazquez (R) ran for office in the 7th district and won with a whopping 94 percent of the votes against opponent James Murray (D)
Incumbent U.S. Rep Jose E. Serrano won in the 15th district
Henry Cuellar (D) won in the 28th district
Bill Flores (R) earned 80 percent of the vote in the 17th district and won against Libertarian candidate Ben Easton
Ruben Hinojosa (D) won in the 15thcongressional district
U.S. Rep Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) lost the congressional 23rd district to State Rep. Peter Gallego (D)
State Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) won against opponent David Rosa (R) with 64 percent of the vote in the state’s 20th congressional district
Attorney Filemon Vela, Jr. (D) won 62 percent of the vote in the newly-created 34th district in South Texas
Barbara Curraso (R) lost in the 16th congressional district
David Sanchez (D) lost in 26th congressional district
Rose Mea Harrison lost against incumbent U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) in the 27th congressional district
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) ran against Jon Haugen (D) and won with 59 percent of the vote