The Growing Influence of Hispanic Voters in Virginia Elections

Sep 17, 2019

This month is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the contribution Hispanic voters have made to Virginia politics.

Immigration. Social programs for new arrivals and people who are struggling financially. These are issues that Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says will animate a growing number of Hispanic voters in Virginia.

Credit NPR

“You’re going to see growing emphasis on those kinds of street level concerns that might not have been as central to the thinking of the previous generation of Virginia Democrats,” he says.

The next generation of Virginia Democrats might end up taking control of the Virginia General Assembly this year, a possibility Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says could be a reality if Hispanic voters turnout this November. 

“Virginia and North Carolina both have more than 250,000 Latino voters on their voting rolls," Kidd explains. "If they turned out and voted in big numbers, that’s a large chunk of voters to influence an election.”

Census records show most of Virginia’s Hispanic community is in Northern Virginia, although Richmond and Hampton Roads also have significant Hispanic populations. Those are parts of Virginia that could end up playing a significant role in the election this fall for all 140 seats of the General Assembly.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.