The Beltway media and pundit-driven reports of a “red wave” and “red tsunami” were greatly exaggerated. In fact, Democrats had decisive victories all across the country, gaining full control of the Michigan government for the first time in decades, flipping Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, and, holy shit, possibly even ousting the reprehensible Lauren Boebert? Keep your eyes on that race.
It was also great night for Latino candidates. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro noted on Twitter that the influential Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is set to see historic membership following the midterms, following wins by candidates who were themselves historic.
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“Democrats are poised to pick up 7 new Latino members in Congress—making this the largest @HispanicCaucus class in history,” Castro tweeted. “Their average age is 38! And includes:-the 1st Latina to rep midwest-the 1st Gen-Z in Congress-the 1st Latino to rep Austin-the 1st LGBTQ immigrant.”
It’s indeed an impressive list. In Illinois, Democrat Delia Ramirez defeated Republican Justin Burau by 30 points to become the first Latina to represent Illinois in the U.S. House. Ramirez, a Guatemalan American, has served as a state representative since 2018 and “expanded Medicaid coverage for seniors regardless of citizenship status, secured hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing, solidified the state’s abortion protections, and helped create an elected school board in Chicago,” HuffPost reported.
“The system isn’t created for people like me to represent them at the highest level of office,” she told the outlet. “I hope that making history in this way allows us to be able to create those uncomfortable tensions in Wisconsin and Ohio, in Minnesota and Indiana and Michigan. That we are here, we are capable, and we deserve and must be in places where decisions are being made for all people.”
Daily Kos has previously noted the historic campaigns of two of the candidates highlighted by Castro, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Florida’s Maxwell Frost is “the first Generation Z member of Congress and, according to Politico, the only Afro-Cubano,” Rebekah Sager wrote. In California, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is the first LGBTQ immigrant to go to Congress, Marissa Higgins wrote. “I became a U.S. citizen at 21,” Garcia said in Higgins’ report. “It was the happiest day of my life.” Peruvian media celebrated his victory.
In Texas, former Austin City Council Member Greg Casar defeated Republican Dan McQueden to become the first ever Latino to represent the region in Congress. Hard to believe that’s just now a first for Texas. “We won this race on a bold, progressive, unapologetic platform that we’re taking all the way to the U.S. Congress,” Casar said in remarks reported by CBS Austin. “Together, we can tackle the real problems that people are facing—we can unionize our workplaces, win good paying jobs, invest in affordable housing, restore abortion rights, tackle the climate crisis, and so much more.”
In New Mexico, Democrat Gabe Vasquez solidified the state’s Democratic representation in the U.S. House, defeating GOP incumbent Yvette Herrell. She was the state’s lone Republican in the chamber. In Colorado, Democratic state lawmaker Yadira Caraveo defeated Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer to become the first Latina to represent that state in Congress.
"From my work as a pediatrician caring for our community, to fighting for working families in the state legislature, I have spent my life serving Colorado,” she said in remarks reported by CBS News. “It's the honor of my lifetime to receive this vote of confidence to serve working families from Greeley to Commerce City in Washington, D.C. I look forward to doing the hard work to fight for working families across every part of the 8th Congressional District."
Historic wins were also seen outside of Congress. “Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos is the first Dominican American to hold a lieutenant governor position in the United States,” NBC News reported. Matos, appointed to the position last year, won the seat outright against Republican Aaron Guckian. “In her victory speech, Matos said her story is an important one, an immigrant whose family came to the United States, and was able to take advantage of unique opportunities, but her story is not unique in the country,” The Providence Journal reported. In Arizona, secretary of state nominee Adrian Fontes is currently holding a lead over Big Lie pusher Mark Finchem. A former Maricopa County recorder, Fontes was “the first-ever Latino to hold elected office in Arizona’s largest county,” Latino Victory Fund said in endorsing him last year.
And while already a CHC member, California Sen. Alex Padilla was similarly appointed to his seat after the election of Vice President Kamala Harris. He won a full six-year term. He becomes the first California Latino elected to the chamber. These wins are just one more sign that Stephen Miller’s $40 million hate campaign during the midterms was a flop.
Robert Garcia set to become the first Peruvian in Congress
Florida Democratic candidate Maxwell Frost could be the nation’s first Gen Z rep elected to Congress