In-depth Midterm Election Analysis: AZ, TX, CO, NJ, NY, FL, CA, NV, WI
The 2010 election was a mixed result for Latinas and reproductive health, but one strong message came through: Latino/a’s are a powerful and active voting bloc, by some estimates Latino turnout could be as high as 60 percent.
Latinas proved themselves a formidable voting constituency determined to cast their ballots despite political campaigns designed to depress Latina turnout. This election was not a referendum on reproductive health and justice issues. However the new Congressional landscape raises the stakes for advocacy work on these issues.
One of the most discouraging election results is the shake-up in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). NLIRH’s partnership with CHC members has been instrumental in raising the voice of Latinas in healthcare reform, immigration and abortion access. Two important voices were defeated in this election by conservative opponents: CHC Whip, John Salazar (CO-03) and past CHC chair Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23).
In the aftermath of the election, the NLIRH will focus on protecting the landmark health care law which will cover an estimated 9 million Latinos and increase funding for community health centers – a lifeline to many in our neighborhoods. Though many new House leaders have promised to take aim at the law, with a supportive stronghold elected in California and other allies nationwide, opportunities exist to continue reform focused on those most in need.
House Republicans have indicated their intent to drastically limit access and affordability of abortions by blocking abortion coverage in insurance plans. NLIRH will continue to work to protect existing coverage and push for public funding so that abortion can remain a safe, affordable option for Latinas.
NLIRH looked at nine state election results in terms of what they mean for Latinas' and immigrants' health and rights: Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin. These nine states have at least a 10 percent Latino electorate or have an active NLIRH affiliate. State digests are available below. A longer analysis will be available before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!
Jan Brewer (R – incumbent) wins against Terry Goddard (D). In a predicted, yet disturbing, loss for Latina women, Jan Brewer maintained the Arizona Governor’s seat, beating out Goddard. Although once highly disliked among her Republican colleagues for raising taxes in Arizona, Brewer gained support following her fierce defense of SB 1070, the discriminatory legislation that makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The law is the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, and puts Latinas in extreme risk of being racially profiled and having their rights violated. This win is not only likely to allow Arizona to move forward with its anti-immigration positions, but is also likely to embolden some twenty other states that are considering similar measures. On abortion, Brewer takes a strong anti-choice stance. She signed a measure, for example, that requires providers to report the details of the abortion procedures they provide and also was the first governor in the nation to sign a bill that prohibits insurers in the new state-run health care exchanges from providing coverage for abortions except in special situations.
House or Representatives
Paul Gosar (R) wins against Ann Kirkpatrick (D- incumbent). Gosar took Kirlpatrick’s seat, in one of the night’s many upsets. Gosar, a dentist, was able to capture the vote of the angry electorate that disapproved of Kirlpatrick’s support for health care reform and the federal stimulus package, this despite the fact that Kilpatrick had one of the lowest party-loyalty percentages in Congress. Gosar has stated that he is “vehemently opposed to … the federal funding of abortions,” a position that will be detrimental to Latinas as several funding issues are raised in the coming years. He also says that he will work to repeal health-care reform. Gosar is also a strong supporter of biased immigration laws that harm immigrant families. He, for example, supports the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009, which seeks to end the 14th Amendments’ guarantee of citizenship to those born in the United States, a direct attack on Latina women and their children. Gosar is a Tea Party candidate that will make advocating on behalf of Latina women very difficult. He is also likely to pursue legislation that will affirmatively harm Latinas, and therefore put advocacy groups on the defensive in the upcoming years.
Ed Pastor (D- incumbent) will serve an 11th term after defeating Tea Party candidate Janet Contreras (R). Pastor was Arizona’s first Latino Congressman, and has a history of being a champion of women’s reproductive rights including voting no on restricting interstate transport of minors to get an abortion and no on banning dilation and extraction. He has also voted to protect the reproductive rights of women, to provide emergency contraception at military facilities and to ensure access to and funding for contraception. Pastor supports comprehensive immigration reform and has stepped in to help undocumented students from being deported.
David Schweikert (R) defeated Harry Mitchell (D- incumbent). Schweikert was able to capitalize on a narrow lead and defeat the incumbent in Arizona’s 5th District race. Schweikert is an anti-choice candidate who was endorsed by Arizona’s Right to Life PAC. Answers to polling questionnaires also demonstrate that Schweikert may be opposed to abortion even in cases of widely recognized exceptions such as rape and incest, a position that is extremely damaging to women’s autonomy to care for her own body in times of crisis. Schweikert’s states his position on immigration as being “simple” and one of strict enforcement and no a pathway to citizenship. He plans to staunchly defend Arizona’s damaging immigration laws while in Congress, and has been endorsed by the authors of those bills. He also advocates for the finished construction of a border fence, using high-tech surveillance monitors, hiring more patrol agents, using National Guard troops on the border, and ending “sanctuary” policies - which generally are policies that help immigrant families. Schweikert’s positions clearly ignore the important nuances in immigration and therefore Schweikert’s is likely to advocate for laws that harm Latina women and their families, and obstruct positive working solutions to these problems.
Raul Grijalva (D- incumbent) defeated Ruth McClung (R) after two days of too-close-to-call ballot counting. This win is a tremendous victory for Latinas, as Grijalva is a champion of Latinas' rights. He is a pro-choice candidate who has consistently voted for progressive immigration reform policies, including a pathway to citizenship and the DREAM Act. McClung played up the backlash over Grijalva’s call for a boycott the state after it passed a racial profiling immigration law. In the days after the election, Grijalva has said he does not see the narrow victory as a demand for him to go back to his post with a more cautious style to his lawmaking. Instead, Grijalva said he has a renewed sense of purpose to defend his progressive agenda that includes education, health care and social security.
Gabrielle Giffords (D- incumbent) won another term in a narrow victory that reflected a tough campaign against the 29-year-old Marine Veteran Jesse Kelly (R). Giffords is a two-term incumbent who is pro-choice and endorsed by Emily’s List. However, she is in a Republican-leaning district where anti-immigration policies have a strong following. Latinas will have to continue to provide educational materials on the impact of increased border security for Latino families in Giffords district. Giffords has asked for additional border security from both Bush and Obama Administrations.
Proposition 106 - Insurance Mandate Constitutional Amendment
Arizona’s Proposition 106 passed. Proposition 106 is state constitutional amendment that was modeled after legislation drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. It says the states' citizens can't be forced to participate in a public or private health plan, can choose to pay a doctor directly for medical services and can't be forced to pay a fine for not having insurance. The measures are likely only “message” laws because states can't ignore federal law. However, the measure will allow Arizona to challenge the federal government’s recently created laws in federal court. Arizona already has a similar statutory law on the books and tried to pass a similar constitutional amendment, which was narrowly defeated, in 2008.
Jerry Brown (D) wins against Meg Whitman (R). Jerry Brown, the State Attorney General and former Governor, was victorious in defeating Meg Whitman, a former eBay CEO, in the race to replace outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The race was fought down to the wire and was, perhaps, one of the most closely watched races across the country because it promised to be the most expensive race in California’s history. Whitman spent well over $140 million in her campaign, which Brown spent upwards of $10 million. Brown has proven himself to be a supporter of Latinas’ rights to family planning. In the 1980’s Brown stated that he was personally opposed to abortion and urged clemency for one of the nation’s most visible and fanatical anti-abortion activists; however, since that time Brown has been an unwavering supporter of pro-choice policies. Brown scooped up endorsements from abortion rights leaders, including the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, California’s chapter of National Organization for Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood’s California chapter, NARAL Pro-Choice California, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi. As the nation watches California’s implementation of the new health care laws, it was be very important that Brown moves forward with implementation in a way that ensures equality and care for women’s basic health care needs. On immigration, Brown appears to be a strong leader for positive changes. While he has openly opposed issuing drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants he has also stated that immigrants are "an important part of our social and economic life." He said he would work closely with the Mexican president on issues such as energy, drugs and arms trafficking, and the fate of tens of thousands of Mexican citizens who are currently incarcerated in California.
David Jones (D) defeated Mike Villines (R). In a strong win for the Latina community, Jones, the pro-choice candidate, was elected as insurance commissioner and will replace Steven Poizner (R). Under the newly created federal health care laws, state insurance commissioners will be key players in Latina women’s health. They will help decide how abortion is covered in their state among many other key decisions. In four states, including California, the insurance commissioner is elected by the people. Jones has publicly committed to promote full funding for abortion in all health insurance plans and has repeatedly opposed restrictions to critical family planning care. This is critical, not only for California Latinas, but for those around the country who will assuredly model their health care implementation after California’s lead.
Barbara Boxer (D- incumbent) wins against Carly Fiorina (R). In California’s U.S. Senate race, Boxer, a leading Senate liberal who has held this seat for three terms, won over Fiorina, the former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard. This is a very important win for Latinas because Boxer is one of the strongest champions of Latina causes in Washington D.C. She is, for example, endorsed by EMILY’s List and has a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL. She supports immigration reform, and would like to be able to provide something for those working and contributing to our communities, while also holding a tough stance on those involved in criminal activity. She believes that undocumented Californians should have to pay fines, pay back taxes and go to the back of the line in waiting for immigration status. However, she also thinks that the guest worker program should be reformed so that workers can officially be in the country legally. Boxer is definitely an advocate that will help bring communities together to find solutions on these issues and move positive reform forward.
U.S. House of Representatives
Jerry McNerney (D- incumbent) looks like he will be victorious against David Harmer (R) in a very tight race for California’s 11th Congressional seat. McNerney’s win is a step forward for Latinas. While the District is narrowly conservative, including 40% Republicans, 40% centrist Democrats, and 20% Independents, Latinos in the Central valley make up a chunk of the voting electorate and their vote will help decide the outcome of the race. Fortunately, McNerney supports immigration reform but proposes an increase to fund border patrol and investment in surveillance and enforcement technology.
With a very slim lead, it appears that Jim Costa (D- incumbent) will defeat Andy Vidak (R). Costa would continue to represent California’s 20th Congressional District. His opponent, Andy Vidak (R), an unknown Tea Party candidate posed a serious threat, but his lack of understanding of issues important to Californians put him behind on the vote counts. Costa has a track record of championing equality for all. On immigration, Costa has not been a friend to the Latino community. In fact, he has proved to be very insensitive toward immigration issues. Jim Costa has voted against supporting legislation that would provide undocumented persons in-state tuition, educational benefits, welfare, and health care services.
Loretta Sanchez (D- incumbent) defeated Van Tran (R). She is Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, and member of the Women’s Caucus and Pro-Choice Caucus. Clearly, Sanchez is a strong proponent of reproductive freedom. She is pro-choice and has even introduced legislation to restore freedom of choice to women serving in the military. Loretta is also a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, which makes her a fiscally conservative member. While she will remain cautious of government spending, Sanchez will be a supporter of abortion rights, pay equity, and gay rights. Additionally, she will likely echo the voices of Latinas and all women who deserve the human right to reproductive choice.
With about 51 percent of the vote, John Hickenlooper (D) defeated Dan Maes (R) and Tom Tancredo (I). In one of the most watched gubernatorial races in the country, Denver Mayor Hickenlooper’s win is good for Latinas in the state because his record shows that he supports abortion rights and has opposed Arizona-style immigration laws in favor of a nonpartisan approach that protects citizens from racial profiling. The former brew pub owner refused to run attack ads against his challengers, which included immigration hard-liner Tancredo and Maes who thought global warming was a part of a conspiracy involving bicycles in Denver.
Colorado State University-Pueblo President Joseph A. Garcia (D) will be joining John Hickenlooper (D) at the statehouse as the first Latino Lt. Governor in Colorado’s history. It has been reported that Garcia improved CSU-Pueblo’s financial issues while creating programs so that lower-income families could afford college. He has a BA in business from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a JD from Harvard Law School.
John Suthers (R- incumbent) defeated Stan Garnett (D). This win is problematic for Latinas because Suthers is anti-choice and advocates for winning the “hearts and minds” of the public to build consensus to make abortion illegal. Suthers also wants to repeal the health care reform law which will cover an estimated 9 million Latinos and increase funding for community health centers – a lifeline to many in our neighborhoods.
Michael Bennet (D- incumbent) defeated Ken Buck (R). Bennett, a former school superintendant, is a pro-choice candidate and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC. He voted against the Nelson/Hatch amendment to ban abortion coverage in the new health care system. In regards to immigration, however, Latinas must continue to advocate for progressive policies under his tenure. Bennet wants to reform immigration and supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that will include a criminal background check, learning English and paying taxes and fines. He also supports increased military at the border and enforcement, which could be harmful to Latina communities.
House of Representatives
Diana DeGette (D- incumbent) defeated Mike Fallon (R) with about 67 percent of the vote. DeGette’s ninth term is good news for Latinas because DeGette has been a tremendous supporter of women’s and immigrants’ rights as a co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. She has also advocated for expanding stem cell research and for increasing access to health care for children.
Jared Polis (D- incumbent) defeated Stephen Bailey (R). Polis has always been a strong supporter of women’s reproductive health and freedom, and also a champion of immigration rights. Polis, one of three openly gay House members –along with Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Barney Frank of Massachusetts (they will be joined by a fourth openly gay Congressmember in January, Representative-elect David Cicilline of Rhode Island), has also supported the Uniting American Families Act which would help reunite same-sex partners living in different countries. Polis’ challenger, on the other hand, Bailey was an active Tea Party activist and wanted to repeal health care reform.
State Rep. Scott Tipton (R) defeated John Salazar (D- incumbent). This is a huge loss for Latinas because Tipton is anti-choice and was endorsed by the extreme anti-choice group Concerned Women for America PAC. He also wants to repeal the health care law and opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Tipton also supports increased security and enforcement on the border.
State Rep. Cory Gardner (R) defeated Betsy Markey (D- incumbent). Gardner is anti-choice and supports repeal of the new health care reform law, which will cover an estimated 9 million Latinos and increase funding for community health centers – a lifeline to many in our neighborhoods. Gardner also takes an anti-immigrant stance by supporting increased border security and no pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Doug Lamborn (R- incumbent) defeated Kevin Bradley (D). Lamborn is anti-choice and supports anti-immigrant policies. He consistently voted in favor of legislation that denies federal benefits to undocumented immigrants. He wants to establish an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Colorado Springs. He advocates for building a fence on the southern border, costly e-verification systems, high-tech surveillance and increased immigration agents on the border and penalizing municipalities that refuses to participate in federal immigration activities.
Mike Coffman (R- incumbent) defeated John Flerlage (D). This is a blow for Latinas in the state because Coffman does not support women’s reproductive rights. He is anti-choice and wants to decrease the number of legal immigrants in the country by only allowing merit-based visas or family-based visas. He also supports harsher financial penalties for those who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants and does not support a temporary worker program.
Ed Perlmutter (D- incumbent) defeated Ryan Frazier (R). Perlmutter is a pro-choice candidate endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC. He supports an earned pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but also wants to add additional security and enforcement at the border. Perlmutter supports visa reform.
The so-called "Personhood Amendment" failed which is a huge victory for reproductive rights for Latinas. For the second consecutive election cycle, abortion rights foes in Colorado pushed an amendment to the state Constitution that would give rights "to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." Proponents of this amendment openly say that they are seeking to end legal abortion. The amendment would have also banned certain common forms of birth control.
Amendment 63 failed. In an attempt to dismantle the new health care reform law, the constitutional amendment would have said that the states’ citizens can’t be forced to participate in a public or private health plan, can choose to pay a doctor directly for medical services and can’t be forced to pay a fine for not having insurance.
Rick Scott (R) defeated Alex Sink (D) in Florida’s gubernatorial race. Scott’s victory over Sink is a step backward for Latinas and all women. Sadly, Scott threw his support behind the Arizona law, and his negative views on immigration, suggests that he is likely introduce legislation in Florida that will mirror the law in Arizona. A law of this kind could be detrimental to Latinas seeking health services, especially in a state like Florida, where the Latinos make up 12% of the population. Latinas already experience difficulty navigating the health system, and they would encounter additional barriers in the form of discrimination and added layers of bureaucracy with a similar immigration law. Scott is also anti-choice and he opposes abortion, with the exception of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Taking on additional conservative views, Scott is against gay marriage and he does not support legalizing adoption to same-sex couples.
In a three-way race, Tea Party extremist and rising star Marco Rubio (R) defeated Kendrick Meek (D) and Charlie Crist (I). Although a Latino himself, his victory represents a devastating loss for Latinas and all women. Rubio is anti-choice and his views pose a threat to women. He has voted to require pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound before abortion, even when the ultrasound is not medically necessary. Additionally, Rubio previously called Roe v Wade "a catastrophe that yielded horrifying results." In office, Rubio is likely to introduce legislation that would erode women’s rights. On immigration, Rubio believes that we need to secure the border and provide an earned path to citizenship. What is more, he supports the immigration law in Arizona and supports the adoption of English as the U.S. official language.
House of Representatives
Joe Garcia (D) conceded the race to represent the district that stretches from West Miami-Dade into Collier County to David Rivera (R). Rivera was endorsed by anti-choice groups and as a state representative voted for anti-choice measures including requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds, unborn victims of violence act, and voting for abortion waiting periods. On the other hand, Garcia was a strongly supportive of women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care and was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
House of Representatives
Republican and Tea Party-backed candidate, Jon Runyan (R), squeaked past John Adler (D- incumbent). Runyan, who has never held political office and is best known for his professional football career, is pro-choice, but believes in many restrictions for abortion care. This suggests that he is likely to take on conservative positions on women’s issues. Additionally, Runyan opposes gay marriage and supports anti-immigrant policies. Though he favors civil unions, he still prioritizes traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Susana Martinez (R) defeated Diane D. Denish (D) to become the first elected Latina Governor in the U.S. This historic win for the Latino community is marred by the fact that she does not support policies that enhance the lives of Latinas and their families. Martinez favors lower taxes, cuts in Washington spending, tough border enforcement and, like most "Tea Party"-backed candidates, she is anti-choice and anti-gay marriage. She has also claimed she will revoke a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.
Matt Chandler (R) defeated Gary King (D- incumbent). Chandler is anti-choice and was endorsed by the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico. He supports repealing the law that allows undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses. This is a problem for Latinas because having state-issued identification improves reporting of crime such as domestic violence because a victim is more apt to report if they have an ID.
House of Representatives
Martin Heinrich (D- incumbent) defeated Jon Barela (R). Heinrich is pro-choice and was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC. He voted against the Stupak abortion ban in health care reform and said he was opposed to Arizona-style immigration laws because they promote racial profiling and are a breach of individual privacy rights. He is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.
Steve Pearce (R) defeated Harry Teague (D- incumbent). This is devastating for Latinas’ reproductive rights because he is anti-choice, even in cases of rape or incest. Pearce was endorsed by the extreme anti-choice groups Concerned Women for America PAC, the National Right to Life PAC and the Republican National Coalition for Life. He is also in favor of increased border security, and streamlining the immigration system to make room for guest workers.
Ben Ray Luján (D- incumbent) defeated Tom Mullins (R). Luján’s win is a good sign for Latinas because he voted against the Stupak abortion ban in health-care reform and supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as long as they pay taxes, learn English and pay a fine.
Andrew Cuomo (D) defeated Carl Paladino (R). Cuomo's win is a very positive outcome for Latina New Yorkers. Cuomo is the current Attorney General of New York and is the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo. As a pro-choice Catholic, Cuomo also ran on social issues that favor Latinas including increasing access to family planning services. He was endorsed by pro-choice groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, and ran pro-choice advertisements that blasted Paladino’s staunch opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Cuomo has also demonstrated a compassionate stance on immigration, and while he mentions a need to protect against fraudulent immigration documents, he has also discussed the importance of promoting equal wages and rights for immigrants, protections that are critical for Latinas. Cuomo also supports marriage equality for all couples, a stance that betters the lives of our LGBT members and their families. Despite his positive leanings in most areas, recognizing New York’s current economic woes, Cuomo has stated that he will cut some social services such as home health care to protect New York’s Medicaid system. Latinas therefore must remain vigilant to ensure that the services that are selected for cuts do not disproportionately affect Latina women’s access to reproductive health care.
House of Representatives
Michael Grimm (R) defeated Mike McMahon (D- incumbent). Grimm was able to grasp this hotly contested seat from the Democratic incumbent after only one term in Congress. Grimm, a Marine Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent, opened an organic food restaurant and is a partner in a Texas biofuel company. This seat has traditionally been conservative and represents Staten Island and a small portion of Brooklyn. Grimm repeatedly expressed intentions to repeal the new health care law. His desire to dismantle the program will negatively affect Latinas who benefited from the health care overhaul. Grimm is anti-choice and does not support public funding for abortion; however, it is unclear where he stands on the common exceptions such as in the cases of incest, rape and the life of the mother. These distinctions will be critical in fighting against laws that seek to limit access even further than the bare minimum. Grimm is also a strong supporter of state run immigration laws such as those enacted by Arizona. These laws make all Latinas extremely vulnerable to racial profiling and subject them to lengthy and unwarranted incarceration. A fair and adequate immigration overhaul therefore will be more difficult to achieve with Grimm in office because he is likely to support laws that harm Latinas in exchange for an unfounded sense of security. Although Grimm’s opponent, McMahon, was a conservative Democrat and likely would not have been a strong advocate for Latina women, it is clear that Grimm will not only fail to advocate for them, but will also likely support legislation that actively harms Latina women.
Harry Reid (D- incumbent) defeated Tea Party Candidate Sharron Angel (R) after a touch-and-go campaign where his victory never was certain. For Latinas, his re-election means retaining a candidate that has been a champion for immigration rights. He voted to expand public benefits to immigrants, including undocumented people, for comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, and he opposed building the fence along the border, as well as making English the official language. In addition, Reid has supported the DREAM Act and has signaled that he would continue to push the measure in the next session. However, Latinos in the state (which make up 12.4 percent of voters), will need to encourage his office to act on issues that support access and affordability of abortion. Reid has a NARAL rating of 29 percent, and his National Right to Life Committee rating is 50 percent which means he leans toward anti-choice policies. However, Reid did sponsor a bill (which never came to a vote) providing contraception to low-income women on Medicaid. This is good in light of the health care reform implementation process currently underway, which may include providing contraception as a free preventative care service through insurance plans.
Former federal judge Brian Sandoval (R), who is Latino, defeated Chairman of the powerful Clark County Commission, Rory Reid, in the state’s gubernatorial race. Sandoval was the first Latino candidate elected to statewide office in Nevada and is considered a moderate. But this is a mixed-bag for Latinas. He opposes driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and opposes a pathway to citizenship. He supports verification requirements and enhanced security on the border. In addition, Sandoval opposes the new health care reform law, which will cover an estimated 9 million Latinos and increase funding for community health centers – a lifeline to many in our neighborhoods. Latinas can look to Sandoval for mixed support of their reproductive rights. On one hand, Sandoval openly claims to support abortion rights and has already decried a November 2010 fetal personhood state ballot initiative. However, he opposes dilation and extraction abortions, late term abortion and federal funding for abortion. He supports parental notification for minors and is against transporting minors across state lines for abortions.
U.S. House of Representatives
Shelley Berkley (D- incumbent) defeated Kenneth Wegner (R). Her win is good for Latinas because Berkley is pro-choice and voted against the Stupak abortion ban in health-care reform. Berkley has a mixed voting record on immigration, but has said recently that she would make reform a top priority.
Dean Heller (R- incumbent) defeated Nancy Price (D). Heller’s win will present a challenge for Latinas in his district because he is anti-choice. Heller voted for the Stupak abortion ban in health care reform.
Joe Heck (R) defeated Dina Titus (D- incumbent).This is a challenge for Latinas because Heck is anti-choice and is endorsed by extreme anti-choice organizations such as Concerned Women for America PAC, Susan B. Anthony PAC and the National Right to Life PAC.
Rick Perry (R- incumbent) maintains his governorship against former Houston Mayor, Bill White (D). Rick Perry is the most anti-choice Governor in the history of Texas. Perry’s win is a devastating loss for Latinas and all women across the state. He is likely to introduce anti-choice legislation and support amendments that falter the advancement of women’s choices. In the past, Perry signed legislation to prohibit the use of tax dollars from supporting abortion facilities, and he helped to implement the strictest third trimester abortion ban in the nation. Moreover, Perry opposes marriage equality and championed a constitutional amendment to define marriage in Texas as the union of one man and one woman. Latinas, along with many women of color, immigrants, and low-income women, are likely to face discriminatory and punitive policies that would make it systemically difficult for them to access care.
U.S. House of Representatives
Ciro Rodriguez (D- incumbent) will step down from his Congressional seat after losing to Francisco Canseco (R). Rodriguez’s loss is devastating for the Latina community. He had a 100% pro-choice voting record and stood on the side of advocating reproductive justice for Latinas. The anti-incumbent sentiment threatened Rodriguez’s race, which went from “leaning democrat” to “toss up,” according to Politico. Canseco is likely to derail efforts that might support women’s issues. He opposes immigration reform and does not believe in a pathway to citizenship. Canseco is anti-choice and has the backing of all major anti-choice organizations.
Charles Gonzalez (D- incumbent) held on to his seat of 12 years and defeated Clayton Trotter (R) in a tightly contested race. The 20th Congressional District has never been represented by a Republican. In fact, Gonzalez has represented the primarily Latino district for twelve years, and his father, Henry Gonzalez, held the position for 38 years prior to that. He is pro-choice and voted against the Stupak ban in health reform. Gonzalez’ victory suggests that he will continue to advocate for issues that are important to the Latina community, including immigration reform.
With a very slim lead, Tea Party candidate, Blake Farenthold (R) seems to have defeated Solomon Ortiz (D- incumbent), an incumbent of 28 years. While having little political clout, Farenthold was able to pull a win for the Republican Party. Farenthold is anti-choice and is against a pathway to citizenship. Farenthold will likely be a roadblock to solutions that could positively impact Latinas and their families.
Scott Walker (R) defeated Tom Barrett (D). Walker, a Milwaukee County Executive, edged out Barrett, Milwaukee’s mayor, to win the governor’s seat. Walker is anti-choice and was endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is at stake. He has also stated that he would block minors from receiving taxpayer-funded contraceptives. Walker has flip-flopped on immigration issues and initially came out against Arizona’s discriminatory immigration laws saying that “in America we don’t want our citizens getting pulled over because of how they look.” Shortly after taking this position, and after meeting with Arizona law makers, however, Walker came out in support of the laws and has indicated intent to implement similar programs in Wisconsin.
Ron Johnson (R) defeated Russell Feingold (D- incumbent). The Latina community lost one of its strongest supporters when Johnson defeated Senator Feingold. Johnson, a plastics manufacturer, has promised to repeal health care reform stating that it is an “assault” on “freedom.” Johnson is also an anti-choice candidate that was endorsed by Wisconsin’s Right to Life group. Johnson favors immigration tactics that harm Latinas and their families. For example, he supports stronger enforcement measures, REAL ID, the Patriot Act, and opposes any form of a pathway to citizenship.
House of Representatives
Reid Ribble (R) defeated Steve Kagen (D- incumbent). Ribble wants to increase border security,does not support a pathway to citizenship and instead supports visa reform. Ribble is anti-choice and is likely to support policies that harm Latinas’ access to critical reproductive health services.