Democrat Ricky Hurtado Unseats GOP Incumbent Stephen Ross in North Carolina State House Race
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Late on Tuesday night, Ricky Hurtado, a Democratic newcomer, appeared to have a narrow lead over Stephen Ross, the GOP incumbent, according to unofficial results released by the state Board of Elections. If this lead holds, Hurtado would become the first Latino to secure a seat in the North Carolina state House. With 20 out of 20 precincts reporting, Hurtado received 20,264 votes, while Ross received 19,869 votes, resulting in a difference of just 395 votes. This margin is only 97 votes larger than the narrow victory Ross achieved over his Democratic opponent two years ago.
Hurtado expressed his excitement about the strong results but remained cautious, recognizing that the race is still too close to call. Mail-in and provisional ballots are yet to be counted, and he wants to ensure that democracy prevails and that the voices of all citizens are heard. Hurtado, a 31-year-old Princeton graduate and the son of Salvadoran immigrants, ran against the incumbent to represent North Carolina House District 63. The district is home to 1 million Latino residents, the majority of whom are ineligible to vote due to age or citizenship status.
The Trump administration’s policies have disproportionately affected Latino communities over the past four years, and the coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on Latino families, resulting in a higher percentage of cases within this population compared to other races. Hurtado himself contracted COVID-19 during the summer, which impacted his campaign activities. In recent months, grassroots organizers have been striving to leverage the Latino voting numbers into political influence, and Hurtado’s potential election would be a testament to these efforts.
Hurtado has repeatedly assured voters that he will advocate for higher teacher salaries, improved access to early childhood education, and a more diverse educator workforce once he assumes office. He also supports a temporary halt to the state’s voucher program and would consider implementing a cap on charter schools.
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