News Column

Latinos Expected to Gain Seats in U.S. House

October 18, 2002

Enelly Betancourt

Hispanics will make political gains in upcoming elections nationwide, but not as much as some Latino leaders had hoped.

While few Hispanics are running for the U.S. Senate or statewide races this year, a slew of them are running for re-election or election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Eighteen Democrat and three Republican Hispanic lawmakers are already in the House and are expected to win easy re-election.

In a sign of how serious the GOP is about winning over Hispanics, 15 new Latino candidates for House seats are Republicans.

In addition, several Hispanics who've been backed by the Democratic Party and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are trying to knock off Republican incumbents.

Both parties have intensified their wooing of Latinos because they're members of the fastest-growing voting bloc in the nation.

According to the National Council of La Raza, Latino registered voters are expected to jump from 5.7 million in 2000 to 7.9 million in 2004.

And, while Latino voters continue to favor Democrats over Republicans, there is evidence they're becoming more independent.

Source: (C) 2002 Intelligencer Journal Lancaster, PA. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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