Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Midterms 2018: Firsts for women in the US House

Midterms 2018: Firsts for women in the US House

Ayanna Pressley didn't campaign to make history, but she did on Tuesday, officially becoming Massachusetts' first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

This year's USA midterm elections have already made history, with a record number of women, Native Americans, and Muslim candidates running for office.

What is already the most diverse Congress ever could become even more so after Tuesday's elections and will include several trailblazers.

Michigan's Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota's Ilhan Omar are the country's first Muslim women in Congress. Ayanna Pressley is Massachusetts' first Black congresswoman. Meanwhile the Arizona senate race is too close to call, but either Republican or Democrat, the victor will be the state's first woman in the seat. Stacey Abrams of Georgia, who had hoped to become the first black woman in the country to be elected governor, was trailing her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, early Wednesday.

Pressley is also the first African-American to serve on the Boston City Council.

"Having extra women in these institutions makes just a little bit more cultural change in how things are done", says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List, which works to elect pro-choice women Democrats. Since the 2020 presidential election is about to begin in earnest (and midterm results led to more than one name be floated as possible candidates) let's take at least 24 hours to celebrate these women and their history-making wins.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, is now the youngest woman elected to Congress. In all, 237 were candidates for the House, including 185 Democrats and 52 Republicans. Democratic women won one Republican-held seat in IL, two in Iowa, and one in Kansas. Underwood texted Stevens after she won her August primary (she also reminded her to clear her voicemail because it would fill up quickly.) "Keep fighting".

Much has been made of 2018's "year of the woman" status, as Democrats carried female voters by 19 points last night, exploiting a (+15) gender gap to win back the House and pick up a number of governorships.

It was the culmination of two years of anger, frustration and activism driven by women appalled by Donald Trump's election and presidency.

Republican women were animated by their own issues, including fears of borders being overrun and a backlash to the #MeToo movement. The vast majority of women elected are Democrats.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo who was born in Winslow, Ariz., is a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. The Democrat surged in the latter part of the year, polling neck and neck with Noem, but fell just short on Election Day. Democrat Janet Mills of ME and Republican Kristi Noem of South Dakota are the first women elected as governor in their state.

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