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HomeInternationalThese Latino firsts made history in the 2022 midterm elections

These Latino firsts made history in the 2022 midterm elections


Several Republican and Democratic Latinos made history in the midterm elections, even as votes were still being tallied Wednesday in many parts of the country.

According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Latinos ran for top offices in 44 of the nation’s 50 states.

Florida

Maxwell Frost meets with community leaders and organizers from Central Florida at Wekiva Island in Longwood, Fla. Frost is an Uber driver and Gen Z candidate for Florida's 10th congressional district. He won a crowded democrat primary and is favored to win the general election in a heavily blue district.
Maxwell Frost in Longwood, Fla., on Aug. 30.Thomas Simonetti / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Maxwell Alejandro Frost, who identifies as Afro Cuban, is the first of Generation Z to be elected to Congress.

The 25-year-old Democrat beat Republican Calvin Wimbish to represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District. With 75% of the votes in, Frost received 59% versus Wimbish who got 39.5%, according to the NBC News Decision Desk.

He will stand out among his soon-to-be peers in the halls of Congress, where the average age of House members is 58.

“Central Florida, my name is Maxwell Alejandro Frost and I’m going to be the first Generation Z member of the United States Congress!” Frost told cheering supporters in Orlando on Tuesday night.

Gen Z generally refers to those born in the late 1990s to the early 2010s.

Republican Anna Paulina Luna’s win makes her Florida’s first Mexican American woman elected to Congress.

She defeated Democrat Eric Lynn in a race to represent Florida’s 13th Congressional District. With 95% of the votes in, Luna garnered 53.1% of the votes versus Lynn who received 45.1%, according to the NBC News Decision Desk, flipping the previously Democratic seat.

“Today we made history,” Luna, an Air Force veteran and nonprofit advocate, said on Twitter. “My name is Anna Paulina Luna and I am going to be the next representative for FL-13!”

Florida has had 12 Latino members of Congress, 10 of which have been of Cuban descent. The other two are of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent.

California

Democratic candidate Robert Garcia is the first LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress following his victory against Republican John Briscoe in a race to represent California’s 42nd Congressional District.

Garcia, who is gay and immigrated to the U.S. from Peru at age 5, was first elected as the mayor of Long Beach in 2014.

In a sweet Twitter post Tuesday night, Garcia shared a photo of his mother captioned, “Mom, we did it!”

According to the NBC News Decision Desk, Garcia is projected to defeat Briscoe by roughly 30 percentage points as of Wednesday afternoon.

Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla also made history as the first Latino elected to the U.S. Senate from California; Padilla had been previously appointed to the U.S. Senate by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill in the seat vacated by Kamala Harris after becoming vice president in 2021.

Alex Padilla at an election-night party in Los Angeles, on Nov. 8, 2022.
Alex Padilla at an election-night party Tuesday in Los Angeles. Jae C. Hong / AP

The appointment officially made him the first Latino senator to represent the state.

“California made history once again,” Padilla tweeted Tuesday night. “I am humbled and honored by the trust that Californians have placed in me.”

According to the NBC News Decision Desk, Padilla is projected to defeat Republican Mark Meuser by roughly 20 percentage points as of Wednesday afternoon.

Illinois

Democrat Delia Ramirez became the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois after defeating Republican Justin Burau in a race to represent the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

“We just made history tonight,” Ramirez said Tuesday in front of a crowd of supporters. “We broke a glass ceiling.”

Ramirez made history in 2018 as the first Guatemalan American elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

With 71% of the votes in, Ramirez had 66.8% of the votes, while Burau had 33.2%, according to the NBC News Decision Desk.

The state’s first Hispanic member of Congress was Democrat Luis Gutierrez, who was elected in 1993 and retired in January 2019. Democrat Jesús “Chuy” García was elected to replace Gutiérrez in November 2018.

New York

George Santos campaigns in Glen Cove, N.Y. , on Nov. 5, 2022.
George Santos campaigns in Glen Cove, N.Y. , on Nov. 5.Mary Altaffer / AP

George Santos will be the only LGBTQ Republican in Congress following a historic House race between gay candidates vying for an open seat in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

“We did it! #NY03 has spoken! I promised one thing throughout this entire campaign: to be your champion in DC,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for this opportunity to be your voice!”

The congressman-elect identifies as Latino since his parents were born in Brazil, a Latin American nation, according to his campaign website.

Santos will also become the first openly LGBTQ non-incumbent Republican elected to Congress.

Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman, flipping the seat from blue to red. With 89% of the votes in, Santos obtained 54.2% versus Zimmerman who received 45.8%, according to the NBC News Decision Desk.

Antonio Delgado at an election night event in New York, on Nov. 8, 2022.
Antonio Delgado at an election night event in New York. Anthony Behar / Sipa USA via AP

New York Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado became the first person who identifies as Latino to be elected to the office, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Delgado was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took over as governor after Andrew Cuomo resigned in 2021.

Voters got to elect both candidates for the first time Tuesday.

“Honored and deeply humbled to be elected Lieutenant Governor by the people of New York,” Delgado said in a Twitter post.

Rhode Island

Sabina Matos gives her victory speech during an election night gathering in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 8, 2022.
Sabina Matos gives her victory speech during an election night gathering in Providence, R.I.Mark Stockwell / AP

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos is the first Dominican American to hold a lieutenant governor position in the United States, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Unlike New York and other states, Rhode Island lieutenant governors are elected in a contest separate from the governor’s race.

The Democrat prevailed in her bid against Republican Aaron Guckian, winning her first full term in office. 

Matos, a former Providence City Council president, was appointed lieutenant governor in April 2021 when Dan McKee became the state’s governor.

“Thank You Rhode Island for giving me the honor to serve as your Lt. Governor,” Matos tweeted.

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