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Abstract 

We use state legislator ideology estimates (standardized W-nominate values) to examine whether Latino and African American legislator ideological differences can be explained away by traditional constituency characteristics like partisanship and demographics. We find instead that both Black and Latino legislators are unique “types.” Our evidence supports the theoretical presumption that there is a minority dimension to legislative voting and that it is uniquely personified by minority officeholders. White, Black, Latino, Democrat, and Republican representatives are all examined for responsiveness to different partisan and racial/ethnic populations. The dataset includes all 50 state legislatures from the 1999–2000 legislative sessions, including information from the U.S. Census, NALEO, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Gerald Wright's Representation in the American Legislature Project, and CQ Press's Almanac of State Legislative Elections.