No matter how you look at the elections on Tuesday, Latinos/Hispanics played a huge role. While the rest of the country was going red –Republican – the states of California, Nevada, and Colorado bucked the national trend and voted Democratic. Latino votes saved Harry Reid with a 9-1 Latino voter margin in a tough Senate race in Nevada. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado defeated conservative Tom Tancredo in his bid for governor, with Hispanics accounting for 6 percent of the overall vote.
In California, Democrat Jerry Brown beat Republican Meg Whitman for the gubernatorial seat by 53.8 percent to 41.2 percent. Latinos backed Brown by a margin of 86 percent to 13 percent, giving him a 13.5 point boost.
On the Republican side of the ledger, Hispanic Republicans were elected across the nation in record numbers. Republican Susana Martinez was elected New Mexico’s first Latina governor and Brian Sandoval became Nevada’s first Latino governor. Latino Republicans won five new House seats and one new Senate seat, giving Latino Republicans a record total of eight seats in both houses of Congress. Of course this doesn’t mean issues such as immigration or the DREAM Act will be on the fast trak, just the opposite things will get worse for Hispanics now that the Republicans are back on top of their game and in control of the House of Representatives.
The bottom line is no matter how you look at the elections, Hispanics played a key role. Finally, the sleeping giant that we have all been waiting for this past decade is waking up from its slumber and starting to make substantive inroads into the political process.