The 2018 midterm elections have been incredibly tense. In the last two years, President Donald Trump has targeted immigrants, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, women, and more. Therefore, many saw November 6, 2018 as an opportunity to change the tide, to diminish the damage he could do. Though this one night won’t hamper Trump or Trumpian attitudes, it is a step forward. We saw many successes, particularly when it comes to Latino leadership. This year, several Latinos made history.
From the first Democratic Latin to become New Mexico’s governor to the youngest woman elected to Congress, here are six Latinos who broke barriers tonight.
Editor’s Note: We’ll update this post as results come in.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. She defeated Anthony Pappas months after she beat Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat, in the primaries.
Alexandria ran on a progressive platform, which includes Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges, and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In New York, Antonio Delgado, a resident of Rhinebeck, faced off against Republican incumbent John Faso to become the first nonwhite representative of the 19th District. Delgado, who is both Black and Latino, is a Harvard Law grad and a former rapper.
Trump’s election two years ago spurred him to make a change. “When Trump won, he certainly made my wife and I sit down and think about our own individual lives,” Delgado told Chonogram, “and what the next phase of our life ought to look like in light of a dramatic alteration of reality – one that was difficult to process.”
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia
Succeeding Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia will represent Illinois’ 4th Congressional District, making him the first Mexican-American to represent the area. He easily defeated opponent Mark Wayne Lorch. The district hasn’t had a new representative since 1993.
Veronica Escobar is one of two of Texas’ Democratic Latinas to head to Congress for the first time. Escobar faced off against Republican Rick Seeberger. She has pledged to fight for the vulnerable, senior citizens, immigrants, and DREAMers. “[I want to] make sure that Washington understands that El Paso is a place of opportunity and is part of what makes America so great,” she told KFOX14.
Sharing in Veronica Escobar’s historic moment is Sylvia Garcia. She edged out six opponents without a runoff and was expected to “cruise into Congress.”
With her win, she hopes to deliver one message across the state: “I wanted Latino girls and boys to know this is a state of opportunity, and it’s a welcoming state.”
Michelle Luján Grisham
Going up against Congressman Steve Pearce, Michelle Luján Grisham won the gubernatorial race in New Mexico, making her the first Democratic Latina to hold the post.