Results of California’s primary elections, held Tuesday, show that two Hispanic politicians will compete for seats in this November’s congressional elections. José Hernández will represent the Democratic Party in the contest for the newly redrawn 10th district, while Abel Maldonado will serve as the Republican candidate for the 24th district. Both districts are in the central part of the state.
Hernández, a political novice and former NASA astronaut, earned 28.7 percent of the votes in the 10th district, a far second to Republican Jeff Dunham, a current House representative for the 19th district, and who won 47.5 percent of the votes. (This is California’s first election under a new non-partisan primary system, in which the top two vote-earners—regardless of party affiliation—go on to the general election.) The competition between Hernández and Denham will be watched nationwide, as it is considered a bellwether by the Democratic National Committee for which party will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Maldonado—a former Lieutenant Governor of California under Arnold Schwarzenegger—earned 30.5 percent of the votes in the 24th district, and Democrat Lois Capps, the current representative for the 23rd district, earned 46.5 percent.
Both Hernández and Maldonado are sons of immigrant farm workers who have spoken with pride about their backgrounds. “You see our history, my history, and they’re about achieving the American Dream,” Hernández said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “For that reason, if I’m elected congressman, I will work to establish conditions so that, with hard work and perseverance, everyone is able to achieve the American Dream.”