Saturday, April 20, 2024

Three Latinos set to make history if they become governors of their states

Three Latinos are in the final stretch of campaigns to make history by becoming governors of their states, with one leading in the polls.

In New Mexico, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is favored in the polls against House colleague Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. If she does, she would be the first Latina Democratic governor in a state where 48 percent of the population is Latino, the largest statewide share in the country.

In very red Texas, Lupe Valdez remains in an uphill battle against the Republican incumbent, Gov. Greg Abbott. Arizona’s shifting political landscape put David Garcia in position to offer incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey a tough challenge, but as the election nears, polls are showing Ducey leading.

Their races have not garnered as much attention as those of Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who would be the first African-American female governor in the country, and Andrew Gillum, who has had to beat back racist attacks in Florida, where he could be its first African-American governor. Nationally, money has poured into the New Mexico governor’s race for both candidates, but polls have continually shown Lujan Grisham ahead of Pearce, with the latest giving her a 9-point lead.

Valdez offers several firsts for Texas; she’s the first Latina and first openly gay candidate to run for governor. If she wins, she’d also be the first Democrat to lead the state since Ann Richards left office in 1995, but Valdez, 71, has had a tough time appealing to voters.

Garcia has based his hopes in his campaign for governor of Arizona on three key areas; first-time voters mobilized by the current political climate, Latino voters’ growing influence in the state and a progressive movement centered around education. But a combination of incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey’s message management and the state’s internal politics has been effective in neutralizing Garcia’s strategy.

The growing number of Latino candidates across the state may be an important force in getting Latinos out to the ballot box.