News Column

Hispanic Candidates Hold Their Seats in Congress

Nov. 6, 2008

Jessica Haro--Assistant Editor,

Hispanic Candidates, hispanic voters, congressional races, election 2008

The United States Congress gained one Hispanic representative Tuesday after Representative-elect Ben Lujan won an open seat. The other Hispanics running for Congress either held onto their seats or lost to incumbents.

In key contests, Democratic challengers Rick Noriega, Joe Garcia, and Raul Martinez each lost their respective races, but presented the incumbents with serious competition.

Democrat Rick Noriega, the only Hispanic who ran for Senate this year, lost with 43 percent of the vote after an uphill battle versus incumbent John Cornyn (R). Had he won, Mr. Noriega would have become the first Hispanic senator from Texas in over a decade, and the fourth Hispanic currently in the senate. That he lost by only 12 percent was quite an accomplishment considering his campaign had minimal funding compared to Sen. Cornyn's $18 million.

Though Sen. Barack Obama took Florida, the democrat's success did not extend to congressional candidates Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia, who were defeated by brothers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, respectively, in congressional districts Sen. Obama managed to win.

Raul Martinez captured much of the Cuban vote according to Mr. Martinez' campaign manager Jeff Garcia. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, incumbent for Florida's 21st congressional district, won the election by 16 percent and will serve his ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, representing Florida's 25th congressional district, managed to win a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives by six percent, despite stiff competition from challenger Joe Garcia.

As expected, son of the state's speaker of the House of Representatives, Ben Lujan won the open seat in New Mexico's third congressional district.

Here is a list of results from congressional elections featuring at least one Hispanic:

Arizona's 4th: Incumbent Ed Pastor (D) defeated Republican Don Karg.

Arizona's 7th: Incumbent Raul Grijalva (D) defeated Republican Joseph Sweeney.

California's 18th: Incumbent Dennis Cardoza (D) ran uncontested.

California's 20th: Incumbent Jim Costa (D) defeated Republican Jim Lopez.

California's 21st: Incumbent Devin Nunex (R) defeated Democrat Larry Johnson.

California's 31st: Incumbent Xavier Becerra (D) ran uncontested.

California's 32nd: Incumbent Hilda Solis (D) ran uncontested.

California's 34th: Incumbent Lucille Roybal-Allard (D) defeated Republican Christopher Balding.

California's 38th: Incumbent Grace Napolitano (D) defeated Libertarian Christopher Agrella

California's 39th: Incumbent Linda Sanchez (D) defeated Republican Diane Lenning.

California's 40th: Christina Avalos (D) lost to incumbent Ed Royce (R).

California's 43rd: Incumbent Joe Baca (D) defeated Republican John Roberts.

California's 47th: Incumbent Loretta Sanchez (D) defeated challenger Rosie Avila (R).

Florida's 18th: Incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) defeated Democrat Annette Taddeo.

Florida's 21st: Incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R) defeated challenger Raul Martinez (D).

Florida's 25th: Incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart (R) defeated challenger Joe Garcia (D).

Illinois' 4th: Incumbent Luis V. Gutierrez (D) defeated Republican Daniel Cunningham.

New Mexico's 3rd: Ben R. Lujan (D) won an open seat versus Republican Daniel East.

New Jersey's 13th: Incumbent Albio Sires (D) defeated Republican Joseph Turula.

New York's 12th: Incumbent Nydia Velazquez (D) defeated Republican Allan Romaguera.

New York's 16th: Incumbent Jose Serrano (D) defeated Republican Ali Mohamed.

Texas' 15th: Incumbent Ruben Hinojosa (D) defeated challenger Eddie Zamora (R).

Texas' 16th: Incumbent Silvestre Reyes (D) defeated Libertarian Mette Baker.

Texas' 20th: Incumbent Charlie Gonzalez (D) defeated Republican Robert Litoff.

Texas' 23rd: Incumbent Ciro Rodriguez (D) defeated Republican Lyle Larson.

Texas' 27th: Incumbent Solomon Ortiz (D) defeated Republican Willie Vaden.

Texas' 28th: Incumbent Henry Cuellar (D) defeated RepublicanJim Fish.

Texas' 31st: Brian Ruiz (D-TX 31st) lost to incumbent John Carter (R).

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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