Candidates of Color on Their Way to Historic Wins
June 5th saw eight states head to the polls to vote for everything from Sheriffs to U.S. Senators. Those races had a lot of historic potential with candidates of color seeking to make history with unprecedented wins. Here’s who made it through to the November general election.
Kevin De Leon
Kevin de León grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of Logan Heights and was raised by his immigrant mother who supported her family by working as a housekeeper. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and later went on to become the first Latino Leader of the California Senate. de Leon came in second place in California’s top-two winner primary election system and will face first place winner, Dianne Feinstein.
After his primary win, de Leon said, “This race is a fight for California’s future…Real leadership is doing the right thing even when no one is watching – or running against you in an election.”
Deb Haaland is a former New Mexico Democratic State Party Chair, attorney, and former tribal administrator. She is a member of the Laguna-Pueblo Tribe and if she wins in November, she will be the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress in the 242 years since Native Americans were first colonized.
“Tonight, New Mexico made history,” Haaland said after her primary win, calling her victory a “victory for working people, a victory for women and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class.”
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe, and serves New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. She is currently the Chair for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She won her primary putting her on track to become the first Democratic Latina Governor in U.S. history. She would succeed Susana Martinez, who is term-limited and was the first Republican Latina Governor in U.S. history.
Ricardo Lara was raised by immigrant parents and in 2012 became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to the California Senate. If Lara wins the November election for Insurance Commissioner he would become the first openly gay statewide officer holder in California history.
“We must fight for our place at the table and show the world we have the right to pursue our dreams,” he said. “I look forward to working together with grassroots leaders to advance a progressive, inclusive and effective agenda for all and make history in California.”
Ammar Campa-Najjar, 29, is running for Congress in California’s 50th district. He lived in San Diego before his family moved to Gaza as a child. However, Campa-Najjar, his brother and mother relocated back to San Diego after the war broke out. His working-class upbringing motivated him to run and give back to working families.. Born to a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father, Campa-Najjar could be the first Latino-Arab American to be elected to Congress.