AUSTIN, TX -- Two major events occurred for Latinos last night. First, Latinos turned out in uncharacteristically high numbers in some states, sometimes by twice as many voters as in 2006. Second, the election was marked by three historic victories for Republican Latino candidates in New Mexico, Nevada and Florida. New Mexicans elected the first Republican Latina governor in United States history, Susana Martinez; Marco Rubio, the "son of exiles" as he describes himself, won the Florida U.S. Senate seat in a heated race; and the State of Nevada elected its first Hispanic governor, Brian Sandoval.
Latinos were 17 percent of the vote in the Texas gubernatorial race and 16 percent of the vote in Nevada gubernatorial race, according to CNN exit polls. These historic successes in key races, as well as the presence of many Hispanic Republican candidates winning key congressional and state races, many over democratic Latino incumbents, speak to the fact that the Hispanic electorate is truly a growing force that cannot be uniformly labeled as democratic.
"Our polling back in March showed that Latinos were trending Republican," said Frank Santos, CEO of Santos Alliances and Executive Director of the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs.
According to an early 2010 poll of registered Latino voters conducted by the BHCC, 53 percent of respondents described themselves as conservative. Respondents also ranked jobs and the economy, faith and family, and patriotism and homeland security as their top priorities. "Latinos have deep-rooted conservative values," says Santos. These Latino conservative values that clearly define this new community of Latino Republican candidates signal that a paradigm shift has occurred in Latino politics.
About the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs
The Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs (BHCC) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization comprised of the current and former chairs and vice chairs of all state Hispanic caucuses, as well as the Hispanic members who serve as the chairs and vice chairs of their respective state legislative committees. The BHCC strives to provide a medium for Hispanic leaders to engage in substantive dialogue in order to address pressing issues in the Hispanic community and the nation as a whole.