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Diverse Candidates Make History in Midterm Elections

Category: Political News,Politics

There were historic firsts across the country on Tuesday night, as voters chose from a set of candidates that was among the most diverse ever to run in the United States. Women, Native Americans, Muslims and L.B.G.T. candidates were among those who broke barriers.

Here are some of the winners who will make history when they take office. (See the results for the House of Representatives, the Senate and governors’ races, and read our analysis.)

In governors’ races:

Kristi Noem, a four-term Republican congresswoman who touted her experience working on her family’s farm and her conservative record in office, will be the first female governor of South Dakota. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for her at a rally in Rapid City on Monday night.

Jared Polis, a wealthy Democratic congressman in Colorado, became the first openly gay man elected as governor in any state. He wants to push for single-payer health care and renewable energy.

Janet Mills, the Democratic state attorney general of Maine, will be its first female governor. (She was also the first woman elected as the state’s attorney general.) The former prosecutor was elected to the state legislature in 2002, and has vowed to combat the opioid epidemic and ensure access to health care.

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In the Senate:

Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican closely allied with President Trump, will be Tennessee’s first female senator. She is fiercely anti-abortion, and stressed border security and taxes. Mr. Trump visited Tennessee to campaign for Ms. Blackburn three times, most recently at a rally in Chattanooga on Sunday.

And in Congress:

In next year’s session of Congress, there will be 100 women in the House for the first time in history.

Two women, both Democrats, shared the title of first Native American woman elected to Congress: Sharice Davids, a former White House fellow from Kansas, and Debra Haaland, a community activist from New Mexico.

Ms. Davids is also the first lesbian Native American to be elected to the House and part of “a rainbow wave” of L.G.B.T. candidates in this year’s election. She has criticized the Republican tax bill and called for “a true tax cut for the middle class.”

In her contest, Ms. Haaland drew parallels between the separation of Native American children and the federal government’s recent border actions with the families of migrants.

Ilhan Omar, a Democratic state legislator in Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic former state legislator in Michigan, became the first Muslim women elected to Congress after winning their House races.

Ms. Omar will also be the first Somali-American to serve in Congress. She has called for gun control, single-payer health care and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Ms. Tlaib, a Palestinian-American attorney, has championed Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and abolishing the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ayanna Pressley will become the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. She beat a 10-term incumbent in the Democratic primary and vowed to pursue “activist leadership” to advance a progressive agenda. Ms. Pressley’s primary upset over a long-serving white male incumbent led many to draw parallels with another progressive upstart, who will also be making history.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. She will represent New York’s 14th District, which includes parts of Queens and the Bronx. She has never held elected office but attracted support with an uncompromising left-wing platform. She won about 78 percent of the vote against her little-known Republican opponent.


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