For The First Time In History, Over 100 Women Were Elected To The House

As the results of the Nov. 6 midterm elections roll in, women continue to make history across the country.

For the first time in the United States, more than 100 women were elected to the House of Representatives. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, became the first Muslim woman elected to Congress and she was quickly joined by Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar. Tlaib, who was born to Palestinian parents, was all but guaranteed her seat. Omar won a close race and simultaneously became the first-ever Somali-American and the first refugee in Congress. 

In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley became the first black Congresswoman in the state’s history. In California, Republican candidate Young Kim won her House race to become the first Korean-American woman in Congress. In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also completed her historic run and became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29. Ocasio-Cortez pulled off a stunning upset of Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley earlier this year and finished the job in decisive fashion on Tuesday. Then, just hours later, Rep. Abby Finkenauer was elected. Finkenauer, also 29, became the second the youngest woman in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first woman ever elected to the House from Iowa.
Republican Kim Reynolds also won her governor race in Iowa, making her the first-ever woman to hold the position in that state. Kristi Noem, another Republican woman, also won her governor race in South Dakota, a first for the state.


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Two Native American women were elected to Congress, becoming the first women ever with such a distinction. Deb Haaland won handily in New Mexico while Sharice Davids pulled out a victory in Kansas. Democrat Paulette Jordan, who was vying to become the first Native American governor in the country, lost a close race in Idaho. 

In the Senate, Arizona is poised to elect its first woman as Senator after an all-female ticket guaranteed the historic moment. Republican Rep. Martha McSally currently leads Kyrsten Sinema by almost 16,000 votes. In Tennessee, GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn defeated former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen to become the first female senator in Tennessee history. She accomplished the feat despite pop star Taylor Swift endorsing her opponent. 

Members of the LGBT community broke down barriers as well. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to serve as governor in any state after his decisive victory in Colorado. He’s also the first Jewish governor in Colorado history. In Vermont, Christine Hallquist fell short of becoming the first transgender governor in United States history, but she was still the first openly transgender major party candidate to be on the ticket.

Sharice Davids

Sharice Davids delivers a speech to supporters at pre election rally on Nov. 5, 2018.  Shutterstock / Sandeep Mishra.

There were a few other notable historic moments last night as well, and a few more to keep your eyes on. Stacey Abrams is vying to become the first African American governor in Georgia, but the race is too close to call. Gina Ortiz is in a tight, too-close-to-call race with Will Hurd in Texas. Ortiz is trying to become the first Filipina-American in Congress. Texas already made history earlier in the night, though, by electing its first two Latina congresswomen when Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia won their races. Latinas had another big win in Florida, where Jeanette Nuñez became the state’s first Latina Lieutenant Governor.

In Birmingham, Alabama, the site of many historic civil rights battles, the city now has a Black Mayor, a Black Sheriff and a Black District Attorney for the first time ever.

Mitt Romney won his Senate race in Utah and became the first politician in 173 years to serve as governor of one state and then US senator in a different state. It hasn’t happened since Sam Houston, the Tennessee governor who then won election to US Senate in Texas in 1846. Lou Leon Guerrero also became the first woman to be elected to govern Guam by winning 50.7 percent of the vote. 

While Tuesday night was full of historic moments, there still may be more to come. As results trickle in from the west coast throughout Tuesday, more races will be called and more history might be made.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Correction: A previous version of this story described Rep. Abby Finkenauer as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. That distinction still belongs to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Cover image via STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty Images.

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