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The Next America - Politics 2012 / Politics

160 Minority Candidates Seek Congressional Office

(Doris Nhan)

November 5, 2012
Alabama: 3
1 minority House incumbent
2 minority House challengers
Arizona: 6
2 minority House incumbents
3 minority House challengers
1 minority Senate challenger
California: 37
14 minority House incumbents
22 minority House challengers
Connecticut: 1 minority House challenger Florida: 14
7 minority House incumbents
7 minority House challengers
Georgia: 5
4 minority House incumbents
1 minority House challenger
Hawaii: 4
1 minority Senate challenger
1 minority House incumbent
2 minority House challengers
Idaho: 1 minority House incumbent Illinois: 6
3 minority House incumbents
3 minority House challengers
Indiana:
1 minority House incumbent
1 minority House challenger
Kansas: 1 minority House challenger Louisiana: 4
1 minority House incumbent
3 minority House challengers
Massachusetts: 1 minority House challenger Maryland: 2 minority House incumbents Michigan: 3
1 minority House incumbent
2 minority House challengers
Minnesota: 3
1 minority House incumbent
2 minority House challengers
Missouri: 2 minority House incumbents Mississippi: 2
1 minority House incumbent
1 minority House challenger
North Carolina: 1 minority House challenger Nebraska: 1 minority House challenger New Jersey: 5
1 minority Senate challenger
1 minority House incumbent
2 minority House challengers
1 minority Senate incumbent
New Mexico: 2
1 minority House incumbent
3 minority House challengers
Nevada: 2 minority House challengers New York: 11
5 minority House incumbents
6 minority House challengers
Ohio: 5
1 minority House incumbent
4 minority House challengers
Oklahoma: 1 minority House incumbent Pennsylvania: 4
1 minority House incumbent
3 minority House challengers
South Carolina: 4
2 minority House incumbents
2 minority House challengers
Tennessee: 1 minority House challenger Texas: 20
1 minority Senate challenger
7 minority House incumbents
12 minority House challengers
Utah: 1 minority House challenger Virginia: 1 minority House challenger Wisconsin: 1 minority House incumbent Alaska Arkansas Colorado Delaware Iowa Kentucky Maine Montana New Hampshire North Dakota Oregon Rhode Island South Dakota Vermont West Virginia Wyoming

Roll over a state in the map to see how many minority candidates seek a position in Congress and learn more about them below.

 

160 Minorities Seek Seats in 113th Congress

The 113th Congress is likely to become the most racially and ethnically diverse in the nation’s history, but the House of Representatives is far from reflective of the nation’s population mix.

 

(RELATED NEXT AMERICA STORY: Congress to Continue to Be More Diverse)

Thirty-four states have candidates of color or children of immigrants on the ballot for a total of 155 aspirants who will either retain or gain a position in the House and five individuals vying for four Senate seats.

Of the 160 legitimate contenders, 114 are Democrats (71 percent), 42 are Republicans (26 percent) and four are independents. Regionally the states with more minority candidates are border states; those without minority candidates – even traditionally Democratic states like Oregon and Vermont – are largely in the northern tier and have smaller minority populations.

Not all candidates publicly proclaim their heritage on their campaign websites, but among them are the quintessential narratives of hard-working American success. For instance, in the tight Arizona contest for retiring Sen. John Kyl’s seat, Democratic candidate Richard Carmona, the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, who dropped out of high school in Harlem, N.Y., and joined the Army. Securing his GED and becoming a war hero as a medic, he attended community college, secured his bachelor’s and later a master’s in public health, rising to become U.S. Surgeon General during the George W. Bush administration. His Horacio Alger story – combined with the minority vote –could put him into the Senate.

(RELATED NEXT AMERICA STORY: More Immigrants, First-Generation Americans Run for Congress)

Not all candidates have a realistic chance of earning a spot in Congress, but, barring any write-in winner, 28 House seats will go to an ethnic or racial minority, given that both the Republican and Democratic candidates are people of color or second-generation immigrants. In 10 states, like Washington, Nebraska and Wisconsin, a single minority candidate is running, and while the general populations there are white, candidates running in more diverse metropolitan districts could win.

Heavily diverse states, like California, with 37 House candidates, and Texas with 20, rather are symbolic of the coming Next America, where the general population is fast becoming minority-majority, already evident in many counties. That much is clear in 15 open races, largely in newly redrawn districts that reflect shifting demographics.

An example is California’s 51st District, the state’s southernmost vacated by Democrat Rep. Bob Finer, who is running for the San Diego mayor’s office.  While the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College reports a 48/38 Republican/Democrat split in a region where about half of the 22 percent of Hispanic residents are registered voters, Democrat Juan Vargas won 46 percent of the vote in the June primary, compared to Republican Michael Crimmin’s 20 percent.

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