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İSí Se Puede! Latino Candidates and the Mobilization of Latino Voters

  • MATT A. BARRETO (a1)

Traditional studies of political participation assume an electoral environment in which voters decide between two White candidates, and find Latino citizens less politically engaged. Given the growth in the number of Latino candidates for office over the past 20 years, this article tests whether ethnicity impacts Latino voting behavior. I argue that the presence of a Latino candidate mobilizes the Latino electorate, resulting in elevated voter turnout and strong support for the co-ethnic candidates. Although some research provides a theoretical basis for such a claim, this article brings together a comprehensive body of empirical evidence to suggest that ethnicity is salient for Latinos and provides a coherent theory that accounts for the empowering role of co-ethnic candidates. Analysis of recent mayoral elections in five major U.S. cities reveals that Latinos were consistently mobilized by co-ethnic candidates.

Corresponding author
Matt A. Barreto is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, Box 353530, Seattle, WA 98195 (
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