WASHINGTON — More Latinos will serve in Congress next year than ever before — at least 42, with one House race to be decided.
With Latinos reaching an unprecedented level of representation on Capitol Hill, The Associated Press was able to document that 34 percent of Hispanic voters approve of how Donald Trump is handling his job as president, and other factors that mobilized the vote among the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
The latest Latino winner was GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, of Washington state, who claimed victory Wednesday for a fifth term over Democrat Carolyn Long.
In the race for an open seat in a GOP-held district that includes part of Orange County, Calif., Democrat Gil Cisneros trails Republican Young Kim, who’s trying to become the first Korean-American immigrant woman elected to the House. Cisneros is a first-time candidate who won a $266 million lottery jackpot.
Thirty-three of 44 Latino Democratic candidates and seven of 15 Latino Republican candidates won their races.
Two Latino senators weren’t on Tuesday’s ballot: Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.
According to AP VoteCast, a new tool that replaced the in-person exit poll as a source of detailed information about the American electorate, almost one-third of Hispanics voters approve of how Trump is handling the presidency, while 66 percent said they disapprove.
More than 4 in 10 Hispanic voters said they approve of how Trump is handling the economy, and about 4 in 10 said he’s a strong leader.
The unemployment rate for Americans of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity fell to 4.4 percent in October, the lowest recorded level for this group since 1973.
Asked whether Trump was a factor in their votes, 19 percent said they voted to support him, 49 percent voted to oppose him and 31 percent said Trump was not a factor in their votes.
About 64 percent of Latinos voted for Democratic congressional candidates and 33 percent voted for Republicans.
Latino women were more likely to vote for Democrats than Latino men, 68 percent to 59 percent. Younger Latinos were even more Democratic than their older counterparts, with 68 percent of those under age 45 voting for Democrats compared with 59 percent of those age 45 and over.