November 17, 2000


Latinos Grab Seats In State Houses Nationwide

Foundation set for redistricting and futureLatino political progress

Los Angeles - Latinos seized the opportunity to continue their political progress by winning several state legislative seats in the first major election of the new millennium, according to an analysis conducted by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. While the number of Latinos in Congress will remain the same, there will be one new face in the House of Representatives.

Former State Senator Hilda Solis (D-CA) defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Matthew Martinez in the Democratic primary, and then ran unopposed in the general election. After the primary, Martinez switched his party affiliation to Republican. With Solis' election, California's Latino Congressional delegation again consists of six Democrats.

Overall, in state legislative contests, Latinos lost one seat in State Senates, but gained eight in lower state houses. In California, the number of Latinos in the State Assembly increased from 16 to 20 making one out of four of the state's assemblymembers Latino. In other states with sizeable Latino populations, Latinos picked up two additional seats in New Mexico and one additional seat in Arizona and Colorado. In states with smaller Latino populations, Latinos also won state house seats in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. New Hampshire previously had no Latinos in office.

"The political progress made by Latinos this November is laying the foundation for opportunities that will emerge in 2002, the first major election after the decennial redistricting," said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director. "Latino candidates and voters certainly have reason to be very optimistic about the progress of Latino political empowerment."

The following three tables indicate: the number of Latinos currently serving in the political body, the net gain or loss of Latino seats, and the composition of the political body after this election. Election results are based on those published by states as of the writing of the release, and many are not yet official. In some cases (New Mexico in particular), Latino state house candidates appear to have won their seats by very narrow margins, and it is quite likely that their opponents will request recounts, which may ultimately change the final election results.


U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Number of Latinos in Congress Prior to Election -- Number of Latinos in Congress After Election -- Net Gain/Loss

DEM GOP DEM GOP DEM GOP

AZ 1 0 1 0 0 0
CA 5 1 6 0 0 -1
FL 0 2 0 2 0 0
IL 1 0 1 0 0 0
NJ 1 0 1 0 0 0
NY 2 0 2 0 0 0
TX 5 1 5 1 0 0
Total 15 4 16 3 1 -1


STATE SENATES

DEM GOP DEM GOP DEM GOP

AZ 4 0 4 0 0 0
CA 7* 0 7* 0 0 0
CO 2 0 1 0 -1 0
FL 0 3 0 3 0 0
HI 1 0 1 0 0 0
IL 2 0 2 0 0 0
KS 1 0 1 0 0 0
LA 0 1 0 1 0 0
NE 0 1 0 1 0 0
NV 1 0 1 0 0 0
NM 14 1 14 1 0 0
NY 4 0 4 0 0 0
OR 1 0 1 0 0 0
TX 7 0 7 0 0 0
UT 1 0 1 0 0 0
WA 1 0 1 0 0 0
Total 46 6 45 6 -1 0

*State Senator Hilda Solis (D) vacated her seat to run for the U.S. House of Representatives this November, and faced no opposition in that race. The special election to fill Ms. Solis' vacancy in the State Senate will be held in early 2001. If a Latino candidate wins that election, we project that the number of Latinos in the California State Senate will increase to eight.



STATE HOUSES OF REPRESENTATIVES OR ASSEMBLIES

DEM GOP DEM GOP DEM GOP

AZ 8 0 9 0 1 0
CA 12* 4 16* 4 4 0
CO 7 1 8 1 1 0
CT 5 0 5** 0 0 0
DE 0 1 0 1 0 0
FL 3 9 2 10 -1 1
HI 1 0 0 0 -1 0
IL 4 0 4 0 0 0
IN 1 0 1 0 0 0
KS 0 1 0 1 0 0
MA 3 0 3 0 0 0
MI 1 1 1 1 0 0
MN 1 0 1 0 0 0
NH 0 0 0 1 0 1
NJ 5 0 5 0 0 0
NM 25 2 27 2 2 0
NY 8 0 8 0 0 0
PA 1 0 1 0 0 0
RI 1 0 2 0 2 0
TN 1 0 1 0 0 0
TX 27 1 27 1 0 0
UT 1 0 0 0 -1 0
WA 1 1 1 1 0 0
WI 1 0 1 0 0 0
WY 1 0 1 0 0 0
Total 118 21 124 23 6 2

*The California State Assembly seat formerly held by State Senator Nell Soto (D) was vacant before the election, and for the purpose of our analysis we did not count that seat as one held by a Latino prior to the election. Former Chaffey Community College District Trustee Gloria Negrete McLeod won election to that seat, and her victory is reflected in the Latino state house gains for California.

**The results for the Connecticut State House race involving incumbent John Martinez (D) were not available as of the time of the writing of this press release, and we were unable to definitively confirm his re-election. However, in light of the demographics and political affiliation of his district, we believe that he was likely to be re-elected, and we have included him in our projected total for the state after the election. Compiled by: The NALEO Educational Fund www.naleo.org

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