Saturday, April 20, 2024

Despite crowded fields, record number of Latinos run for primaries

An unprecedented number of Latinos are running for office in the 2018 primaries, but crowded fields have toughened the challenge of getting elected for some candidates of color and women.

Primary season kicks off with the Texas primary today and this year, Democrats stand their best chance in years for flipping the U.S. House majority. But the anti-Trump sentiment that is mobilizing Democratic voters also has “crowded the field” in several congressional races where many Latinos are found.

The crowded field makes it much harder to raise money for campaigns, a challenge that already is more difficult for many candidates of color and women. How much money a candidate can raise is often how national organizations track a race and is a factor on deciding whether they back a candidate.

For instance, Massachusetts could send its first Latina to Congress in the race to replace Rep. Nicki Tsongas, a Democrat in the state’s Congressional District 3 race, but this is a crowded race and Juana Matias must get past 12 other candidates. The same is true in Florida where the race for the seat held by retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, has drawn nine Democrats and seven Republican, several of which are Latinos.

Difficult as it might be to have so much competition, the many Latino contenders could help draw out more Latino voters for the primaries.

“If there is any time to seize the moment when it comes to the Latino vote,” Lizet OCampo, political director at People for the American Way said, “it is this year.”