Agile Governance

The US midterms was an election of "firsts"

A rainbow forms over the U.S. Capitol as evening sets on midterm Election Day in Washington, U.S. November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1F3B3C62F0

Americans have elected some remarkable first-ever candidates. Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Heather Timmons
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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

Women are projected to win more than 100 seats in the House of Representatives for the first time ever, up from a high of 89 in the last congressional session.

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.

Have you read?

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.

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