Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Political Science and International Affairs
Department Chair or Program Director
Kramer, Dr. Jack
Cooperman, Dr. Rosalyn
Major or Concentration
Latinx are the fastest-growing demographic group in the United States, and as such many researchers have looked into Latinas as political candidates and as voters, establishing that Latinas in particular run stronger candidacies than their male counterparts (Bejarano, 2014; Holman & Schneider, 2018; Ocampo & Ray, 2019). Despite this, Latinas hold fewer than 25 percent of seats than Latinos in all levels of government, with their success concentrated under the Democratic Party (Bialik, 2019; Vital Statistics, 2019). In order to determine whether a partisan-gap is present in recruiting and supporting Latina candidates, I looked at four Congressional House primary election cycles from 2012 to 2018 in the Latinx dense states of Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas to see where Latinas were running, where they were successful, and under what party label. My results indicate that there is a significant difference in Latina success by political party, as significantly more Democratic Latinas ran and won their House primaries compared to Republican Latinas, even in red-leaning states and districts during favorable years for Republicans. Additionally, more Republican House primary Latina candidates ran in opposing Party districts and uncontested races compared to Democratic Latina candidates, suggesting that Republican Latinas do not benefit equally from running in strong partisan districts or competitive races. Latina candidates of both parties also seem to be competing against each other in the same districts, suggesting some are friendlier to Latina candidates than others. Latinas offer unique contributions to policy discussions, and in today’s politically hostile anti-woman and anti-Latinx environment, it is more important than ever that Latinas are represented in political office.
Fitzgerald, Rebecca, "Latinas in Congress: Lack of Party Support and Disproportionate Underrepresentation" (2020). Student Research Submissions. 353.