2014 California Profile of Latino Electorate and Candidates Released in Advance of State Primary Election

Latinos comprise more than one of every five registered voters in California

May 29, 2014, 13:13 ET from NALEO Educational Fund

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the nation's leading organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, today released its 2014 primary profile for the Latino electorate and candidates in California.

California is home to more than 14 million Latinos.  The California Department of Finance estimates that in March 2014, Latinos became the largest population group in the state, accounting for 39 percent of the state's residents.  Between 2000 and 2010, California's total population grew from 33,871,648 to 37,253,956, an increase of 10 percent.  The Latino community in California experienced the greatest growth of any population group during that period, with the increase of 3 million equaling nearly all of the state's total population growth (90.1 percent).

With Latinos comprising more than one of every five registered voters (22.7 percent) in California, the electorate is poised to play a decisive role.  Latino voter turnout in California mid-term Congressional elections has continued to increase over the years, growing from 1,338,000 in 1998 to 2,058,000 in 2010, an increase of 53.8 percent.  Compared to non-Latinos, Latino registered voters tend to be younger, with 18-24 year olds comprising 15 percent of registered Latinos (compared to 7 percent of non-Latinos). 

"These numbers equate to real political power in the upcoming midterm elections, with the Latino electorate accounting for more than one out of every five registered voters in the state of California," stated NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas. "In the coming days and months, it will be critical for campaigns and candidates to actively engage California Latino voters on the issues that matter most if they want to gain the support of this increasingly influential electorate."

California's June 2014 primary is the state's second election under its "top two primary" system, which will affect contests for state and Congressional offices.  Prior to the adoption of the system, voters could generally vote only for the candidates of their party affiliation, which were listed on separate ballots, and the victors became the respective parties' nominee for the general election.  Under the top two system, all candidates for state and Congressional offices are listed on one ballot and only the top two vote-getters in the primary election – regardless of party affiliation - move on to the general election.

In addition to California's 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the state's 2014 primary elections will also determine the nominees for statewide and state legislative races, as well as several judicial, county, municipal and other local positions. These contests include Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other state executive positions, 20 State Senators and all 80 State Assemblymembers.  Latino candidates are pursuing nominations for key positions at all levels of government, including the following positions:

Statewide Races

  • In the contest for Secretary of State, State Senator Alex Padilla (D) will face several contenders, including Pete Peterson (R), Executive Director of Pepperdine University's Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership; Dan Schnur (NPP), Director of the University of Southern California's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics; and former California Common Cause executive Derek Cressman (D).
  • Former California Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez' (D) competitors for State Controller include California State Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee (D) and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen (R). 
  • In the state's non-partisan contest for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, educator Lydia Gutierrez is in a tough contest, facing incumbent Tom Torlakson, and educator Marshall Tuck.

Congressional Races

  • Eight of the nine Latino incumbents in the California U.S. House of Representatives delegation are seeking re-election:  Democrats Xavier Becerra, Tony Cardenas, Grace Flores Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Raul Ruiz, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, and Juan Vargas
  • U.S. Rep.  Ruiz is the only candidate who will face a particularly competitive contest in the general election, where he is likely to be opposed by State Assemblymember Brain Nestande (R), in a race being closely watched by both political parties.
  • U.S. Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) is retiring from Congress to run for San Bernardino County Supervisor, and State Senator Norma J. Torres has good prospects of winning both the primary and general election race for Negrete McLeod's 35th Congressional District seat. 
  • California's 31st Congressional District features a competitive contest between several contenders including Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D), former U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (D) and attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes (D).  
  • In California's 21st Congressional District, former U.S. Senate staffer Amanda Renteria (D) and business owner John Hernandez (D) are running against incumbent U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R); with U.S. Rep. Valadao likely to be one of the primary winners, the Latino candidate that runs against him the general election will face a tough race. 

Key Local Races

  • Two veteran members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are leaving due to term limits, and Latinos are candidates for both seats.  With each member of the County Board representing close to 2 million residents, the Supervisor positions are among the most powerful in the state and the nation. 
  • In the contest for the 1st District seat held by Supervisor Gloria Molina, the candidates include El Monte City Councilmember Juventino "J" Gomez, law enforcement officer April Saucedo Hood and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
  • In the contest for the 3rd District seat held by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran is running in a crowded field of competitors which also includes former California State Senator Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver
  • Long Beach is California's seventh largest city, and the city's general election for municipal offices is on the same day as California's statewide primary.  Vice Mayor Robert Garcia is facing business owner Damon Dunn in the race to serve as Long Beach's Mayor. 

In advance of the California primary election, NALEO Educational Fund has been actively working to ensure that the state's Latino community has the information necessary to make their voices heard at the ballot box.  These efforts include operating the NALEO Educational Fund toll-free bilingual hotline 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) and the yaeshora.info website to provide California Latino voters with vital information on every aspect of the electoral process in 2014, from registering to vote, to voter ID requirements, to finding their polling place on Election Day.

NALEO Educational Fund's 2014 California Latino Electorate and Candidates Profile

Available online now


To arrange an interview or request additional data, please contact Amanda Bosquez at 202-546-2536 ext. 112 and abosquez@naleo.org, or Paula Valle Castanon at pvalle@naleo.org and (213) 747-7606 ext. 4414.

About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

Contact: Amanda Bosquez, abosquez@naleo.org
(202) 546-2536 ext. 112, (361) 548-6989 (cell)

Paula Valle Castanon, pvalle@naleo.org
(213) 747-7606 ext. 4414, (323) 253-6431 (cell)

SOURCE NALEO Educational Fund