The Congressional midterm elections are just a few weeks away. Much has been much bandied about a “blue” or “red” wave set to determine control of Congress and by extension the direction of the country. Yet another phenomenon is gripping these elections which merits a closer look. It doesn’t follow traditional political affiliations and can serve as a precursor as to what will really shape the political landscape for future generations.
This year a record number of persons of color are running for congressional office. Should this trend continue, the country should prepare for a brown wave that defies party affiliation. Here’s a look at some of the Latino’s vying to be a part of the next congressional class and making waves in doing so.
1. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, New York
No other candidate is more symbolic of this new generation of politicos. Ocasio-Cortez stunned the country when she challenged and defeated longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in the democratic primary in New York’s 14th District. Running a campaign with no donations from PACs or big corporate interests, the 28-year-old Boricua advocates for frontline community topics like abolishing ICE, tuition-free public college, universal Medicare and prison reform. Going unopposed in the general election, a victory would make her the youngest members to hold the position.
2. Anmar Campa-Najjar, California
A Democratic candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District in the U.S. House. He may just be 29-years old, but the candidate has an extensive political resume. He worked for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign before joining the Obama administration as a White House official. He also worked for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a communications and marketing director and for the U.S. Department of Labor as a public affairs officer. Of Palestinian and Mexican ancestry Campa-Najjar is viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party. He has promised voters to work on rebuilding jobs for the middle class instead of the wall, if elected he’d be the first Latino-Arab member of Congress.
3. Gil Cisneros, California
A Navy veteran who had a lottery winning life changing event change his fortune. Cisneros is running on the Democratic ticket for the 39th District in California in the U.S. House. The son of a public-school cafeteria worker and a Vietnam veteran, Gil attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) scholarship George Washington University. Cisneros platform according to his website its “fighting Republican attempts to cut education funding and Pell Grants, tools that empower not just students, but entire communities.” Yet, Cisneros campaign has not been without its share of controversy. A woman initially accused the candidate of sexual harassment, only to recant the allegations. However, is the damage already done? Only election day results will tell.
4. Antonio Delgado, New York
A Democratic candidate for New York’s 19th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Delgado is challenging Republican incumbent John Faso. Born and raised in Schenectady, Delgado is a native of Upstate New York. He attended Colgate University where he graduated with high honors and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. From there, he went to law school at Harvard. His platform – preservation of healthcare, specifically pre-existing conditions, as well as returning jobs to his Upstate New York district, which have since departed with closures from anchor businesses such as General Electric.
However, Delgado’s campaign is not without its own drama. Recently his opponent unearthed Delgado’s prior career as a rap artist, attempting to leverage it as a basis to question his values. Thus far, the mudslinging seems to have had little effect. As of October 3rd, Delgado is leading Faso in the polls. Per the New York Times, more than one dozen area clergy who recently signed a letter asking Mr. Faso to leave the rap album out of the political debate. The letter, which began with the words “shame on you!” said bringing up the rap album was a “thinly-veiled, racist attack for the purpose of insinuating fear in the voters in our district.”