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9 Monumental Latina Victories On Election Night 2020

Despite President Donald Trump falsely claiming he won re-election during his Election Night address at the White House on Tuesday night, he and former Vice President Joe Biden remain in a tight race with millions of uncounted ballots in key states. While the country anxiously waits to learn which presidential candidate will claim a victory, an outcome we may not know until deeper into the week, results are in for many other federal, state and local elections, including races where Latina candidates came out on top.  

According to a report from the Center for American Women and Politics, a record-making 75 Latina congressional candidates ran for the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate this year, including those who may have lost their primary elections. Many more Latinas, including first-time contenders and politicians up for re-election, ran for office at lower levels of government throughout the country. 

While there are still a few important races with Latinas that have yet to be called – Candace Valenzuela, who is running to represent Texas in the U.S. Congress; Anna Tovar, who is vying for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission; and Janet Diaz, who is running for Pennsylvania state senator, to name a few – here are some of the Latina candidates who won local, state and federal contests on Election Night 2020. 

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Own your power. . For so many, it’s radical to feel comfortable in your own skin – and to know that you are more than enough, just as you are. . One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” . So take up space. Speak up. Hold the door open and take others with you. Accept that you will be criticized no matter what – that is the price of fighting for change and innovation. I consider constructive criticism a blueprint for improvement and a medicine for ego. . Ultimately, the people who get down, stay focused in adversity, and do the thankless work of change are the ones who transform society. We can all be a part of that, if we so choose. We can all knock a door, register our cousin to vote, or educate ourselves on an issue we’re curious about. . We are all capable of awakening and commitment. And because of that, we can all be great. . 📸: @gigilaub

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In New York, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was re-elected in the state’s 14th Congressional District in Northern Queens and parts of the Bronx. The Democratic star took 68% to Republican and former NYPD officer John Cummings’ 32%. “Serving New York-14 and fighting for working-class families in Congress has been the greatest honor, privilege and responsibility of my life,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Thank you to the Bronx and Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, and trusting me to represent you once more.” Additionally, all four members of the progressive “squad,” including Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) were re-elected to Congress last night. “Our sisterhood is resilient,” Omar tweeted.

2. Teresa Leger Fernandez

In the Southwest, attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez won New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district race, becoming the first Latina and first woman to hold the congressional seat since its creation in 1983. Fernandez, who supports investments in renewable energy and a transition toward a single-payer healthcare system, beat out Republican engineer Alexis Johnson for the open seat to succeed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for U.S. Senate. “The people of New Mexico have chosen to protect what we love – our democracy, our planet, our families and communities, our health care and our future. With this victory, I promise you I will take the courageous action that this historic moment demands. Muchísimas gracias,” Fernandez tweeted

3. Amy Mercado

In Central Florida, Amy Mercado won the election for Orange County Property Appraiser, becoming the first Latina to hold the seat. The former two-term Democratic state representative left her post to run for appraiser, saying she’s “passionate about making the move to serve Orange County at the local level and bringing a fresh perspective.” Her primary win earlier in the year stopped current Appraiser Rick Singh from securing another term in office. She ran in the general election unopposed, winning 96 percent of the vote.

4. Victoria Neave

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We began this journey almost five years ago with little more than the audacity to believe that we could beat out a Republican incumbent with a war chest twice the size of ours. Today, two legislative sessions later, I am filing for re-election with that same audacity – the audacity to fight for a better tomorrow. Over these past years, our work has culminated in the passage of the historic Lavinia Masters Act, which has added over $50 million dollars to the fight for survivors of sexual assault, and we’ve brought millions of additional dollars to our local neighborhood schools in Mesquite, Garland, and Dallas. We have received accolades to the tune of “2019’s Best Legislators”, “Legislator of the Year” and “The Best of the 2019 Legislative session” – all this year ALONE. I am filing for re-election because I believe that our work is not yet done. The battles against child poverty, the high number of uninsured children, sexual assault and harassment, sub-standard wages, insufficient healthcare, college tuition, and mass incarceration have not yet been won. We also need to real conversations about a comprehensive system to legalize cannabis for medical and adult use. So join us, because my team and I have no plans to back down from the fight for a better Texas anytime soon. Pitch in any amount you are able to help our re-election efforts at bit.ly/DonateVictoria Sponsor or purchase a ticket to my 39th Birthday Party Campaign Fundraiser at bit.ly/Victoria39

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Over in Texas, Victoria Neave was re-elected to the Texas House, representing District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas, Mesquite and South Garland. The attorney beat out her Republican contender Samuel Smith with 57% of the vote. “I am beyond thankful and so humbled tonight. To everyone that made phone calls to voters with us, to every piece of campaign literature dropped at the doors, to every single donation. This race was won by all of us. Thank you,” she tweeted.  

5. Jessica González-Rojas

Back in New York, reproductive justice activist-turned-political candidate Jessica González-Rojas won the 34th district seat of the New York State Assembly, covering the Queens neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Woodside and East Elmhurst. “I am humbled by the trust placed in me by the people of Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside. This victory is the culmination of a broad and diverse coalition that set out to build a grassroots campaign on people-powered solutions to the challenges facing our communities,” González-Rojas said back in June after her primary win.

6. Melisa Franzen

Melisa Franzen, a member of the Minnesota Senate who has represented District 49 in the southwest Twin Cities metropolitan area since 2012, was re-elected last night. The politician, who serves the Minneapolis suburbs of Edina, Eden Prairie, Bloomington and Minnetonka, shared her gratitude on Twitter. “I am thankful for all of you who showed up at the ballot box or voted by mail to make democracy work. I’m honored once again to represent SD49 for two more years in the #mnleg. I will continue to earn your trust and fight for our shared values at the Capitol,” she said.

7. Raquel Terán

Raquel Terán, an organizer-turned-politician, was re-elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, representing District 30. Terán, who pushed for investments in safe neighborhood public schools, quality healthcare for all, economic growth and keeping families together, won unopposed. On Twitter, she wrote: “Thank you, Arizona. We delivered. Thank you, LD30, for your trust in our campaign. Thank you to every single person who got out the vote. Thank you to our community-based organizations who made this moment happen through many years of work. Thank you to every candidate that ran.”

8. Luisa Santos

In South Florida, Luisa Santos, an ice cream shop owner and tutor, defeated Dennis Moss, a term-limited Miami-Dade commissioner, for the Miami-Dade school board District 9 seat. Santos, a former teacher who also worked in President Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, won with 52% of the vote. “Thank you so much for the support that you’ve all entrusted in this campaign through your time and donations that made all of this possible. I promise to serve District 9 with a dedication to transparency, so we can bring change to our school system together,” Santos wrote on Twitter

9. Ana-Maria Ramos

Back in Texas, Ana-Maria Ramos was re-elected to the state’s House of Representatives District 102, which covers Addison, Dallas, Garland and Richardson in northern Dallas County. Ramos once again defeated former Republican State Representative Linda Koop, who called her Latina opponent’s win against her in 2016 a “fluke.” 

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