Top statewide races to watch that include Latino candidates

Currently, there are only eight Latinos who hold statewide office. But that number is set to increase significantly, as a total of 19 Latinos are…

Currently, there are only eight Latinos who hold statewide office. But that number is set to increase significantly, as a total of 19 Latinos are running for statewide offices this year.

SEE ALSO: 6 Latinos running in highly competitive congressional races

This includes Latinos running for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and state superintendent of public instruction. Here’s a look at some of the statewide races to watch:

Susana Martinez

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is seeking a second term in office. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez faces good prospects of winning re-election to serve a second term.

Martinez made history in 2010 when she became the nation’s first Latina governor and the first woman elected governor of New Mexico, which has a 47 percent Latino population. She’s considered a rising star in the Republican Party.

The latest Albuquerque Journal poll shows Martinez has a 15-point lead over Democratic challenger Gary King, who is currently the New Mexico attorney general.

But when it comes to Latino voters, the Latina governor is trailing behind her opponent. Martinez received 40 percent of the Latino vote and King got 50 percent.

Brian Sandoval

GOP Convention 2012

Brian Sandoval is likely to win his re-election bid. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Like Martinez, Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval faces good prospects for victory in his re-election bid.

In 2010, Sandoval left a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in order to run for governor. He won the race and became Nevada’s first Hispanic governor. He previously served as the state’s attorney general.

Since getting elected, the Republican governor has maintained high approval ratings in Nevada, a state that Democrats won in the last two presidential races. He is also seen as someone who could help the GOP make inroads with Latino voters.

Polls show Sandoval has a solid lead over Democratic challenger Bob Goodman, who’s a retired state economic development commissioner.

Annette Taddeo vs. Carlos Lopez-Cantera

Annette Taddeo, Carlos Lopez-Cantera

Annette Taddeo and Carlos Lopez-Cantera are two Latinos running for lt. governor in Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)/(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Two Latinos are running for lieutenant governor in one of the nation’s most competitive gubernatorial races: the race for governor in Florida.

Republican incumbent Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the state’s first Latino lt. governor, is running with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Meanwhile, Miami business owner Annette Taddeo, a Democrat, is running with former Gov. Charlie Crist. If elected, Taddeo would be the first Latina to serve as the state’s lt. governor.

Florida is one of the states where the fates of lt. governor candidates are tied to the success of gubernatorial candidates. Polls show the race between Scott and Crist is neck and neck.

Leticia Van de Putte

Leticia Van de Putte is running for lieutenant governor in Texas.

Leticia Van de Putte faces a tough battle to win the lt. governor’s race in Texas. (VOXXI/Griselda Nevarez)

Leticia Van de Putte faces an uphill battle to win the lieutenant governor race in Texas against Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick.

Unlike the lt. governor candidates in Florida, Van de Putte and Patrick don’t depend on the success of the gubernatorial candidates.

Van de Putte is a sixth-generation Tejana whose family has been living in Texas even before it was a state. She is also a mother of six, a practicing pharmacist and a state senator.

Democrats regard Van de Putte as the party’s strongest lt.-governor nominee in years. But a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows she is trailing behind Patrick by as much as 17 points.

Nellie Gorbea

Nellie Gorbea

Nellie Gorbea is likely to win the race to become Rhode Island’s next secretary of state. (Photo credit: Gorbea’s campaign website)

Former deputy Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is looking to become the first Latina elected to a statewide office in the New England region.

But first, she must defeat her Republican challenger John Carlevale in the Rhode Island secretary of state race.

If elected, Gorbea said she wants to review a state law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls to see if the law is making it difficult for some voters to cast ballots. Carlevale, on the other hand, supports the law and doesn’t want it changed.

Gorbea is favored to win the secretary of state race against Carlevale, according to the Associated Press.

David Garcia

David Garcia

David Garcia is on track to become the first Latino elected to a statewide office in Arizona in four decades. (Photo courtesy of Garcia’s campaign)

Like Gorbea, David Garcia is looking to make history of his own as he runs to be Arizona’s next state superintendent of public instruction. If he’s victorious, he’ll become the first Latino elected to a statewide office in Arizona in 40 years.

Garcia, who was the first in his family to go to college, is an associate professor of education at Arizona State University. He previously served as the associate superintendent for standards and accountability in the Arizona Department of Education.

Garcia is likely to defeat his Republican challenger Diane Douglas, a former Peoria Unified School Board president who has been criticized for running a “one issue” campaign focused on repealing Common Core.

SEE ALSO: Arizona group accused of ‘ballot stuffing’ asks for an apology