This book argues that Latino representation in US legislative institutions is shaped not only by demographics but by legislative institutional design, as well as elite-driven methods, features of the electoral system, and the increasing mainstreaming of Latinos in American society. The election of Latino legislators in the United States is thus complex and varied. This book provides evidence on how successful Latinos have been in winning state legislative and congressional districts in which they have no natural advantage. In particular, this book demonstrates that Latino candidates benefit from higher percentages of Latino citizens in the state, more liberal citizenries and citizen legislatures. Jason Casellas argues that the legislatures most conducive to the election of Latino candidates are Florida, New Mexico and California, whereas the least conducive are the US House and New York.
Jason Casellas is Assistant Professor of Government and Associate Director of the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. He specializes in American politics, with specific research and teaching interests in Latino politics, legislative politics and state and local politics. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a Princeton President's Fellowship, an American Political Science Association Fellowship and a Ford Motor Company Fellowship. His dissertation won third place in a nationwide, interdisciplinary competition for the best dissertation given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and Educational Testing Service. In 2007-8, he was the Samuel DuBois Cook Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University. In 2009-10, he was a visiting postdoctoral Fellow at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney, Australia. His work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Qualitative Methods and the Journal of California Politics and Policy.
1. Introduction; 2. Latinos in legislatures: historical and theoretical setting; 3. The effects of population, turnover, and term limits on Latino representation; 4. District composition and the election of Latino candidates; 5. Electing Latinos in non-Latino majority districts; 6. Voices from within: how Latino legislators see themselves; 7. Roll call voting behavior of Latino legislators; 8. Conclusion.