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Latinos could have record number of congressional seats after midterm vote

The US House could have a record number of Latino members after next week’s election, with a Latino group projecting they will get up to 45 seats.

Currently, 38 members of the House are Latino.

“We think we’re going to have a very robust new class of Latinos overall,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed (NALEO) Education Fund.

To reach that number, 34 Latino incumbents would need to be re-elected or replaced by a Latino, and 11 Latinos running for seats not held by Latinos would also need to win.

If that happens, “Latinos could make up more than 10 percent” of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Vargas said.

Hispanics are the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the country. They numbered 62.1 million at the 2020 census, or about 19% of the US population.

Vargas also predicted that Latinos will likely contest next week’s election at levels similar to their record turnout in 2018.

Nearly 11.7 million Latinos voted in the 2018 midterm elections, a 73% jump from 2014. NALEO predicts that approximately 11.6 million Latinos will vote in the November 8 elections.

“One in 10 American voters is expected to be Latino or Latina in 2022,” Vargas said.

Vargas said modeling by NALEO based on the last five midterms showed a likely decline in non-Hispanic voting.

The states of Arizona, Colorado and Nevada hold races for the Senate and races for offices at the state level. Latino turnout in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina is expected to be about the same as 2018. NALEO modeling showed that Latino turnout would likely be lower in Texas, down 6.4% and New Mexico, down 9.8%.

There are 34.5 million Hispanics eligible to vote this year, but in recent elections about less than half voted. About 2 million Latinos have turned 18 since 2020, according to the Center for Information Research and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

NALEO’s latest installment of its nine-week tracking survey shows lingering issues with outreach to Latinos. About half nationally said no one reached out to ask them to vote. Latino contact was highest in Arizona, where 57% of Latinos said they had been contacted, and lowest in Texas, where 48% said they had been.

Democrats did the most outreach, with the highest share seen in Texas, where 70% of Latinos said they had heard from Democrats. The highest proportion of Latinos to hear from Republicans was in Florida, 43%, but 55% heard from Democrats.

“In order to see more turnout among Latino voters, we need to see sustained engagement and investment in mobilizing the Latino vote as the eligible electorate grows,” Vargas said. “Let’s keep pace with this growth and candidates and parties need to invest.”

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