How the 2018 Midterms Made History

If you are still someone that believes that your vote may not make a difference, hopefully the 2018 midterm elections changed your mind. Lack of political efficacy among minority groups has been a recurring obstacle against getting the vote out and encouraging democratic participation, especially due to gerrymandering and traditionally strong donor bases of white male politicians. This past November 6th, however, a few candidates made history becoming the first person of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality or race to obtain their positions.

Sharice Davids (D) and Deb Haaland (D):

Davids made history twice on election night, becoming one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress as well as the first LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. Deb Haaland became the other of the twoe first Native American woman elected to Congress. She will soon sit as a representative of New Mexico (CNN).

Rashida Tlaib (D) and Ilhan Omar (D):

Both women became the first Muslim females elected to Congress. Tlaib won a House seat for Michigan and Omar was also elected a representative for Minnesota. Beyond Omar’s history-making for her religious identity, she also became the first Somali-American of the legislature after having immigrated to the United States in 1995 as a refugee from Kenya. She is Minnesota’s first woman of color to represent Minnesota in the House of Representatives (CNN).

Jared Polis (D):

Polis became the very first openly gay man to be elected governor. His win against Colorado’s Republican candidate, Walker Stapleton by over ten percent of the vote (Denver Post).

Marsha Blackburn ( R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D):

Tennessee elected its first female senator this month. Blackburn was already serving in the House as the representative of the state’s seventh district. She is the only new Republican Congress member to be female, something that struck some controversy as 64% of the new Democratic members are female (Business Insider).

Simena was elected the first female senator from the state of Arizona, while also making history as the first openly bisexual member of the Senate. Her race was particularly tight with the vote coming down to 49.7% for Simena and 48% for her opponent, Republican Martha McSally (NBC).

Kristi Noem ( R ):

South Dakota’s first female governor will be former current representative, Kristi Noem this upcoming term. She beat her Democratic opponent, Billie Sutton by a little over ten thousand popular votes.

Veronica Escobar (D):

Escobar became Texas’s first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, winning with a large margin of 68% of the vote to 27% of the vote in her district to Republican Rick Seeberger (New York Times). This win is significant considering the county she ran in, El Paso, is 83% Hispanic (US Census).

Almost all of these firsts have been elected to the House of Representatives, meaning there is still more room for diversification in the Senate. Diversity of governors have varied by state through the years, especially on the basis of party affiliations, but some candidates made significant leeway this year. With the soon-to-be members of the House meeting in Washington D.C. this week, it’s easy to take a look at the fresh faces and how they’ve differed from those in previous elections.