The Latino Vote: Did We Make a Difference?

Contrary to popular belief, Latinos did, in fact, turn out to vote yesterday. In fact, we made a big difference in key races in California, Nevada and Florida.

Marco Rubio, who won the Republican primary for Florida's senate seat by galvanizing an angry Tea Party base in the southern state, held onto his momentum from the primaries to emerge victorious in yesterday's elections. His victory is due in part to the large amount of Latino voters who came out to support him. According to an election eve poll by the National Council of La Raza, 62 percent of Latinos say they planned to vote for the U.S. Senate candidate.

In California, Latinos proved to be the decisive factor in Governor Jerry Brown's triumphant reelection. Though Meg Whitman spent millions of her own dollars on a very expensive gubernatorial campaign, she stepped in it with Latino when her Mexican, undocumented former housekeeper spoke out and made allegations of verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of the former EBay CEO. 65% of Hispanics who voted in the election pulled the lever for Brown; despite Whitman's last ditch efforts to court our vote.

Nevada was ground zero for one of the most important senate races in the country yesterday. Majority leader Harry Reid was in a fight for his life, facing off against Tea Party darling Sharron Angle. Though Reid is a moderate, conservative Democrat—Angle sought to paint him as a bleeding heart liberal eager to give undocumented immigrants a free pass to all of Nevada's resources. In the process, she released a series of incredibly offensive commercials portraying Latinos as thugs and ne'r-do-well freeloaders. Angle’s strategy backfired as the growing Hispanic community in Nevada cast their vote for Reid in an overwhelming majority.