Dozens of Latinos are on the ballot in states across the country, and several of these candidates would be historic Latino “firsts” if they win their races. These include Ritchie Torres of New York, Georgette Gómez of California, and Candace Valenzuela of Texas. Photos courtesy of SAGE, City of San Diego, and Candace Valenzuela.

This presidential election, a record 32 million U.S. Latinos were eligible to vote, and many  Latinos are also seeking positions in Congress, statewide offices and state legislatures across the country. Depending on the outcome of their respective races, the number of Latinos in Congress could jump from the current 43 to 50. Pulso has compiled a list of 64 Latino candidates, Democrats and Republicans, running for U.S. Congress, some of whom are poised to make history should they win. 

The list includes Ritchie Torres from New York, who identifies as Afro-Latino and has been a member of the New York City Council since 2014. He’s hoping to represent New York’s 15th Congressional District, one of the poorest and most democratic congressional districts in the nation. Torres, 32, is in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. José Serrano, and faces Republican Patrick Delicies. If elected, Torres would be the first openly gay congressman.  

Georgette Gómez of California, who said she is queer, will be the first openly LGBTQ+ Latina in Congress if elected. She’s running against another Democrat Susan Jacobs for the 53rd Congressional District, and has said that her priorities if elected will be: immigrant rights, affordable housing, protecting Social Security and Medicare, addressing climate change and creating more jobs with infrastructure investments. 

Candace Valenzuela from Texas could serve as the first Afro Latina elected to Congress in the state’s 24th Congressional District. Her mother is Mexican American and her father is Black. She worked as a special needs teacher before getting into politics, and considers the late Rep. John Lewis a personal hero. Social justice issues important to her include immigration and criminal justice reform.

There’s also Army National Guard veteran, Rudy Soto, who is vying to become the first Latino to represent Idaho. The son of a Mexican immigrant, he is also a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation. After losing his father to cancer, Soto has made health care a central theme of his campaign as he runs in the state’s 1st Congressional district.

Teresa Leger Fernandez is a Democratic nominee for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, and would be the first woman to fill the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Luján is running for the open U.S. Senate seat.

Meanwhile, Christina Hale could wind up as the first Latina to represent Indiana if she wins her race. Hale is running to represent Inidana’s 5th Congressional District, and her platform includes lowering the cost of healthcare and investing in clean energy.   

Michelle De La Isla, who was elected as the first Latina mayor of Topeka, Kansas two years ago, now seeks to serve her state in the U.S. House of Representatives. She previously served on the Topeka City Council from 2013-2018, and the city’s first Latina, first single mother, and second woman to serve as mayor.

List of Latinos in congressional races

Arizona – U.S. House of Representatives

Raúl Grijalva, 3rd Congressional District (D)

Ruben Gallego, 7th Congressional District (D)

California – U.S. House of Representatives

Tony Amador, 9th Congressional District (R) 

Justin James Aguilera, 19th Congressional District (R)

Phil Arballo, 22nd Congressional District (D)

Salud Carbajal, 24th Congressional District (D) 

Mike Garcia, 25th Congressional District (R) 

Tony Cárdenas, 29th Congressional (D)

Pete Aguilar, 31st Congressional District (D)

Grace Flores Napolitano, 32nd Congressional District (D)

Jimmy Gomez, 34th Congressional District (D)

Norma Torres, 35th Congressional District (D)

Raul Ruiz, 36th Congressional District (D)

Linda Sánchez, 38th Congressional District (D)

Gil Cisneros, 39th Congressional District (D)

Lucille Roybal-Allard, 40th Congressional District (D)

Nanette Diaz Barragán, 44th Congressional District (D)

J. Louis Correa, 46th Congressional District (D)

Mike Levin, 49th Congressional District (D)

Ammar Campa-Najjar, 50th Congressional District (D)

Juan Vargas, 51st Congressional District (D)

Georgette Gómez, 53rd Congressional District (D)

Florida – U.S. House of Representatives

Darren Soto, 9th Congressional District (D)

Ana Paulina Luna , 13th Congressional District (R)

Mario Díaz-Balart, 25th Congressional District (R)

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, 26th Congressional District (D)

Carlos Gimenez, 26th Congressional District (R) 

Maria Elvira Salazar, 27th Congressional District (R)

Georgia – U.S. House of Representatives

Johsie Cruz Ezammudeen, 4th Congressional District (R)

Idaho – U.S. House of Representatives

Rudy Soto, 1st Congressional District (D)

Illinois – U.S. House of Representatives

Jesús García, 4th Congressional District (D)

Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee, 10th Congressional District (R)

Indiana – U.S. House of Representatives

Mark Leyva, 1st Congressional District (R)

Christina Hale, 5th Congressional District (D)

Kansas – U.S. House of Representatives

Michelle De La Isla, 2nd Congressional District (D)

New Jersey – U.S. House of Representatives

Albio Sires, 8th Congressional District (D)

New Mexico – U.S. Senate

Ben Ray Luján (D)

New Mexico – U.S. House of Representatives

Michelle Garcia Holmes, 1st Congressional District (R)

Xochitl Torres Small, 2nd Congressional District (D)

Teresa Leger Fernandez, 3rd Congressional District (D)

New York – U.S. House of Representatives

Nydia Velázquez, 7th Congressional District (D)

Adriano Espaillat, 13th Congressional District (D)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 14th Congressional District (D)

Ritchie Torres, 15th Congressional District (D)

Antonio Delgado, 19th Congressional District (D)

Ohio – U.S. House of Representatives

Anthony Gonzalez, 16th Congressional District (R)

Pennsylvania – U.S. House of Representatives

David Torres, 2nd Congressional District (R)

Texas – U.S. House of Representatives

Elizabeth Hernandez, 8th Congressional District (D)

Gus Trujillo, 13th Congressional District (D)

Vicente Gonzålez, 15th Congressional District (D)

Monica De La Cruz Hernandez, 15th Congressional District (R)

Veronica Escobar, 16th Congressional District (D)

Irene Armendariz-Jackson, 16th Congressional District (R)

Joaquin Castro, 20th Congressional District (D)

Mauro Garza, 20th Congressional (R) 

Gina Ortiz Jones, 23rd Congressional District (D)

Tony Gonzales, 23rd Congressional District (R)

Candace Valenzuela, 24th Congressional District (D)

Ricardo De La Fuente, 27th Congressional District (D)

Henry Cuellar, 28th Congressional District (D)

Sylvia Garcia, 29th Congressional District (D)

Jaimy Blanco, 29th Congressional District (R)

Fabian Vasquez, 33rd Congressional District (R) 

Filemon Vela, 34th Congressional District (D)

Rey Gonzalez, 34th Congressional District (R)

Jenny Garcia Sharon, 35th Congressional District (R)

Washington – U.S. House of Representatives

Jaime Herrera Beutler, 3rd Congressional District (R)

West Virginia – U.S. House of Representatives

Alex Mooney, 2nd Congressional District (R)

~ Compiled by Frank Morris Lopez

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