The Historic Firsts From The 2018 Midterms

First Native American Women in Congress

Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Davids identifies as lesbian, making her the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Congress from Kansas as well. She will enter Congress having previously worked as a lawyer and a former mixed martial arts fighter.

 

First Muslim Women in Congress

Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party representative Ilhan Omar will become the first Muslim women in Congress. Tlaib will fill the seat formerly occupied by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who left office last year amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Omar will take the seat vacated by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. Omar, in addition to being one of the first Muslim women in Congress, will also be the first Somali-American member. She came to the US more than two decades ago as a refugee.

 

First Texan Latina Women in Congress

Veronica Escobar, an El Paso County judge, and Sylvia Garcia, a state senator and former Harris County commissioner, make history in a state is nearly 40 percent Hispanic or Latino and will become the first Latinas from Texas to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. Escobar takes the place of Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke and represent constituents in Texas’ 16th congressional district which includes El Paso, where she served as a county commissioner and county judge for seven years.

 

First Black Women in Congress

Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman Massachusetts has ever elected to Congress. Her seat in Congress was all but assured after she upset longtime Democratic incumbent Michael E. Capuano in Massachusetts’ 7th District. She won the general election after running unopposed. Jahana Hayes, a teacher, becomes the first black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. She beat her opponent, Manny Santos, by 11 points.

 

First lowan Women in the U.S. House of Representatives

Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne are set to represent lowa at the U.S. House of Representatives. Axne beat her opponent by 49% and Finkenauer won by 50%.

 

First Openly Gay Man Elected Governor

Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis will become the first openly gay man elected governor. Polis will succeed Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Polis was one of several LGBTQ+ candidates who ran for governor this cycle, along with Brown in Oregon, Vermont Democrat Christine Hallquist and Texas Democrat Lupe Valdez.

 

First Youngest Woman Ever Elected in Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York now holds the record of being the youngest woman ever elected in Congress at age 29. She became a progressive star after her upset primary victory over Rep. Joseph Crowley. 

 

First Female Senator from Tennessee

Rep. Marsha Blackburn became the first female senator to represent Tennessee when she outlasted a challenge from former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who looked to run against his party to win in a state President Donald Trump won by 26 percentage points in 2016. Blackburn, a conservative lawmaker closely tied to the President, looked to nationalize the Senate race as much as possible, hoping to tap into the same conservatism that elected Trump in order to blunt some goodwill Bredesen had built up during his two terms as governor.

 

First Female Governor of South Dakota

The current congresswoman, Kristi L. Noem beat her opponent, Billie Sutton, by four points. During the campaign, she acknowledged the historic potential at her candidacy, but preferred to focus on issues rather than gender.

 

First Female Governor of Maine

Janet Mills, the state's attorney general, has won the governorship which checks off another from a long list of states that have never had a female chief executive.

 

Sources:

Vox

Washington Post