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Midterms 2018: A night of firsts

From left to right, top to bottom: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley, Kristi Noem, Sharice Davids, Sylvia Garcia, Jahana Hayes, Ilhan Omar, Deb Haaland, Veronica Escobar, Rashida Tlaib, Janet Mills and Marsha Blackburn.

The impact of Tuesday’s election will be a topic of much debate, but one thing’s clear: Women made big strides.

At least 99 women will represent Americans in the House, surpassing the previous record of 84.

The Associated Press reported that 237 women ran for the House as major-party candidates in 2018, spurred in many cases by the #MeToo movement and a renewed interest in politics following the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, whose attitudes toward women have been questioned.

The “women’s wave” included Massachusetts, where Democrat Ayanna Pressley was elected by Seventh District voters to be the first African-American woman to represent the state as a House member.


Beyond the Bay State, voters in other states picked Native American and immigrant women as their representatives. Voters in Colorado also elected the nation’s first-ever openly gay man to lead their state Tuesday.

Below are some of the record-making moments from the 2018 midterm elections.

First Muslim-American women elected to the House

Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Democrats, will be the first Muslim-American women to serve in the House.

Omar served a single term in the Minnesota state legislature before she won Minnesota’s Fifth District.

She will also be the nation’s first Somali-American elected to Congress: She was born in Somalia and spent much of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp during Somalia’s civil war. Omar came to the US at age 12 and eventually settled in Minneapolis.

Tlaib was elected Tuesday to serve Michigan’s Thirteenth District seat, which includes the Detroit area. She is the eldest of 14 children, is an attorney aligned with the party’s liberal wing.

First Native American women to serve in the House

Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico will be the first Native American women who are members of the US House of Representatives.


In Kansas, Davids won the state’s Third District, which includes Kansas City. She’s a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation and holds a law degree from Cornell University. Davids is also a member of Kansas’s LGBT community.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo who was born in Winslow, Ariz., is a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. On Tuesday, she won the race for New Mexico’s First District.

The youngest woman ever elected to the House

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, could be the youngest woman elected to Congress, and represented a surge of Democrats challenging more senior and established members of the party.

Ocasio-Cortez, a Boston University graduate who worked for the late US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, defeated Democratic US Representative Joe Crowley in a party primary earlier this year. On Tuesday, she defeated her Republican opponent to represent New York’s Fourteenth District, which includes part of New York City.

‘‘There is nothing inherently noble about protecting a status quo that does not serve the needs of working-class Americans,’’ Ocasio-Cortez said.

US Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing upstate New York, was previously the youngest woman when she was elected in 2014 at age 30.

Other firsts

■In Texas, Democrats V eronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia both won their House races, becoming the first Hispanic women from their state to serve in Congress. Escobar will serve the Sixteenth District, while Garcia will represent the Twenty-Ninth District.


■In Connecticut, educator Jahana Hayes won the state’s Fifth District race and will be the first black woman to represent Connecticut in the House.

■In Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn will become that state’s first woman senator.

■Voters in some states chose women to serve as governors for the first time. South Dakota Republican US Representative Kristi Noem and Maine Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills were both elected to serve as governors of their home states.

First openly gay man elected governor of a US state

Colorado voters chose Democratic US Representative Jared Polis to serve as their next governor, making him the first openly gay man to be elected to serve as the chief executive of a US state.

Polis campaigned on universal health, renewable energy standards and publicly-funded early childhood education, and vowed to stand up to President Trump’s work to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

(Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy who was elected in 2001, was outed as gay while in office.)

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. John Hilliard can be reached at