A night of firsts for women and other minority candidates
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 11/07/18, 10:49 am
Minority groups in the United States achieved a number of milestones in Tuesday’s midterm elections. A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives, including 29-year-old democratic-socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. In Boston, Democrat Ayanna Pressley, who ran unopposed, became the first African-American woman chosen to represent Massachusetts in Congress by defeating 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary. In Kansas, Democrat Sharice Davids ousted four-term Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder, joining Deb Haaland of New Mexico to become the first two Native American women elected to the lower chamber. Davids, who is a lesbian, is also the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. Elsewhere, Ilhan Omar, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota, and Democrat Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a Palestinian-American, will be the first Muslim women in Congress. Omar will also be the first Somali-American representative. In Texas, voters elected the state’s first two Hispanic women to Congress, Democrats Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia.
As of Wednesday morning, at least 100 women were headed to the House, besting the previous record of 84. That number could rise as dozens of races remain undecided as of Wednesday morning.
On the Senate side, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn bested former Gov. Phil Bredesen to become Tennessee’s first female senator. Arizona is also set to elect its first female senator, but that race between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally remains too close to call Wednesday morning.
There were also a couple of firsts in gubernatorial races: South Dakota elected its first female governor, Republican Kristi Noem, while LGBT advocates applauded Jared Polis’ victory in Colorado, where he becomes the nation’s first elected openly gay governor.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.