October 31, 2006
Source: U.S. Newswire via Hispanic Business
Hispanic candidates are competing in 38 states for the nation's top federal and state offices in Election 2006, according to the 2006 Election Profile released today by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. The Profile presents the results of an analysis of all candidates running for Congress, statewide office, and state legislative seats in the November general election.
"Latinos have mounted campaigns in every region of the nation - from the Southwest, to the Northeast, to the Deep South, to New England, to the Midwest and America's 'heartland,'" said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund executive director. This widespread competitiveness reveals the growing Latino political maturity," Vargas added. "Latinos are demonstrating that they can raise campaign money, form political networks, organize their voting communities, and obtain key endorsements."
According to the NALEO Educational Fund's analysis, in 1998, Hispanics were running for federal and state office in just over half of the nation's states (26). In Election 2006, that number has grown to 38, an increase of 46 percent.
In addition, the 2006 Election Profile projects that:
# Hispanics could gain an additional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, if New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) prevails in a tight race against U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (R). If victorious, Madrid would be New Mexico's first female Hispanic U.S. Representative, and the state's first Hispanic since Governor Bill Richardson (D), who served in Congress from 1983 - 1997.
# New Mexico will see some of the most interesting races for statewide office, as candidates in five of the seven state executive seat contests are Hispanic. Governor Bill Richardson (D) has excellent prospects for re-election. In the Secretary of State race, Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera (D) faces former Albuquerque City Council President Vickie Perea (R); State Representative and Special Prosecutor Hector Balderas (D) is in a competitive contest against CPA Lorenzo Garcia (R) for State Auditor; CPA and business owner Demesia Padilla (R) faces a tough battle against James B. Lewis (D) for State Treasurer; and Jim Baca (D) is challenging incumbent Patrick Lyons (R) for State Public Lands Commissioner.
# Minnesota will gain its first female Hispanic State Senator, as Patricia Torres-Ray (D) is running in a competitive contest for an open seat in South Minneapolis' District 62.
# The total number of Hispanics in lower State Houses will increase by four, from 178 to 182. The net gain will stem from victories by Hispanic Republicans, including Peter Lopez (R) in District 127, west and south of Albany in New York. If elected, Lopez would become the first Hispanic Republican in that state's Assembly.
Analysis of the potential lower State House gains also reveals the political progress of Hispanic candidates in states with emerging Hispanic communities. In the nine states with traditional Hispanic population concentrations (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas), the Profile projects a net loss of two seats. However, in the other states, the Profile's data indicate a net gain of six seats. "Latinos in states with emerging communities have laid an important foundation for their continued efforts to achieve full political empowerment," said Vargas.