The midterm elections show that the country is divided. The Democrats won the Senate by one seat, so far, with a Georgia runoff to come Dec. 6. Control of the U.S. House is still uncertain but Republicans look poised to come out ahead a few seats.

A few California congressional races could determine the outcome of the House.

In California’s 22nd district in the Central Valley, Republican Rep. David Valadao was ahead of Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas. Salas co-sponsored Proposition One, which reinforces abortion protections in the California Constitution. Valadao co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which declares the right to life is guaranteed by the Constitution at all stages of life including fertilization.

In California’s 27th district Republican Mike Garcia was pulling ahead of Democrat Christy Smith. In California’s 34th district, a blue seat, Democrat Jimmy Gomez led Democrat David Kim.

In Los Angeles and in San Jose, the races for mayor are still too close to call. 

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass pulled ahead of businessman Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles. Less than 2%, or fewer than 10,000 votes, separated them on Monday with around 70%  of the votes counted.

In San Jose, Matt Mahan led Cindy Chavez in the mayoral race by less than 3% Sunday.

At the same time, voters across the country choose diversity.

Alex Padilla is the first Latino elected to represent California in the U.S. Senate 

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia was elected to Congress and will be the first Latino, immigrant and openly LGBTQ representative there.

Women candidates made history, including Delia Ramirez, the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois.

In five states, where it was on the ballot, voters moved to protect access to abortion.

There also were other historic wins for diversity.

Maxwell Alejandro Frost, who identifies as Afro Cuban, is the first of Generation Z to be elected to Congress.

Republican Anna Paulina Luna won election and is Florida’s first Mexican American woman elected to Congress.

Maryland elected its first Black governor, Wes Moore. His grandmother was Cuban and moved to Jamaica before immigrating to the United States.

Helen Tran was elected the  first Asian American mayor of San Bernardino, California. 

Markwayne Mullin won the special election in Oklahoma, becoming the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in nearly a century.

Becca Balint was elected the first woman and openly LGBTQ person to represent Vermont in Congress. 

There is no doubt that there is division in the country. We can’t all agree who won the last presidential election. Some 61% of Republicans believe that Biden didn’t win “fair and square,” according to a recent poll. Even though there is no evidence of significant voter fraud, many Republicans still believe the “big lie.”

But there was no red wave. And voters, even in conservative states, cared as much about inflation as abortion rights.

Latino voters also played a role in many key states, helping Ron DeSantis win in Florida and giving Democrats an edge in the Arizona Senate race.

All the data isn’t in yet to paint a picture of the diverse Latino electorate. I personally think headlines about Latinos going Republican are overblown.

But one thing is certain, our vote matters, and we can make a pivotal difference when so many races are so close.

Teresa Puente

Teresa Puente has spent her career reporting on immigration and Latino issues in the U.S. and has also reported extensively from Mexico. Previously, she was a staff reporter at the Chicago Tribune and...