It was a huge night for Republicans, who routed Democrats to take back the House of Representatives. It was also a pretty good night for Republicans of color: More black and Latino GOPers were elected to Congress than ever before.
In another historic first, South Carolina elected an Indian-American as its governor. Nikki Haley, whose parents are Sikhs who immigrated from India, had to overcome vicious slurs and personal assaults from her opponents; among other things, a Republican lawmaker who supported one of her opponents called her a “raghead.” (Haley, by the way, is Methodist.)
New Mexico, meanwhile, had its own first — electing a Latina Republican, Susana Martinez, as governor. That race had attracted national attention because it featured two women vying for the seat. Martinez defeated Democrat Diane Denish.
And last but certainly not least, two black Republicans and several Latinos will go to Congress. From AP:
“Color is becoming less of an issue,” said Richard Ivory, a black Republican political consultant and founder of hiphoprepublican.com. “There was a time when the white electorate saw race first and made judgments based on this alone. While black Republicans and Obama disagree ideologically, both are candidates whose message surpassed pigment.”
Mark Sawyer, a UCLA professor and director of the university’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, said Obama’s election pushed the GOP to adjust to a more diverse electorate by seeking out minority candidates.
But he noted that almost all the victorious GOP minorities were elected in majority-white areas and opposed measures such as comprehensive immigration reform that are favored by many Latinos and blacks.