The US midterms offered some bitter disappointment for progressive Democrats who were hoping to unseat Ted Cruz as senator of Texas, hold onto their Senate seats, and knock back the Republicans who embraced Donald Trump’s hardline, nativist views.
But Americans have also elected some remarkable first-ever candidates around the country, reflecting a changing population, more inclusive attitudes toward non-Christian religions and LGBTQ people, and giving representation for the first time to some minorities in the country.
Here’s a selection of “firsts,” but more may be added to the list as results continue to come in.
The first class of over 100 women elected to the House
The first openly gay governor
Jared Polis, the Democratic candidate for Colorado gubernatorial race, became the first openly gay person to be elected governor in the US. An advocate of renewable energy, universal health care, and recreational marijuana, Polis’s election defeated pro-Trump, anti-immigrant Walker Stapleton.
The first Muslim women in Congress
Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who was elected Minnesota state legislator last year, will become the first Somali-American member of Congress, after a resounding victory (in what was a deep blue district).
She’ll be joined in the House by Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, to become the first Muslim women ever to make national laws in America.
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The first Native American women in Congress
Kansas’s Sharice Davids becomes one of the first Native Americans to join Congress, and the state’s first openly gay congressional representative, after defeating a four-time incumbent.
She’s joined by Debra Haaland, a former lawyer with the Obama administration, who defeated Janice Arnold-Jones for a House seat in New Mexico.
The youngest women in Congress
Iowa’s Abby Finkenauer and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both 29 years old, will become the youngest women ever in Congress as new House representatives. Elise Stefanik, who previously held the title as Congress’s youngest woman, was elected to the House in 2014 at age 30.