U.S 2018 midterm elections results mean different things to different people. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand, history was made as a record 110 women won seats in the House of Representatives. Prior to 2018, only a maximum of 84 of 435 House seats were held by women. The accomplishments of women candidates in this year’s cycle range from first-time candidates heading to Congress to elected breaking glass ceilings in their state.
At the election of Donald Trump in 2016, many women gathered to protest across the globe including the world’s largest protest, The Women’s March in January 2017. After many protests and dismay at the missed opportunity to elect the first female President, a record number of women channeled their discontent to run for office and lead political campaigns towards the 2018 midterm elections. Increasingly, women want to be at the table to diversify lawmakers and leaders making key decisions about our lives.
In the last two years, thanks to organizations like VoteRunLead, Emily’s List, She Should Run, and The Collective Pac, waves of women have organized, donated, and voted in record numbers. The midterm elections show that women can run and win at any stage of life with common-sense policies. Here are some of my favorite front-runners in the women’s wave, just five women of many breaking ceilings as firsts in their state:
Sharice Davids (D-KS) – First Native American woman elected to Congress and Kansas’ first-ever LGBT representative to Congress
In a race many mainstream channels did not follow before election night, Sharice Davids pulled an upset over the GOP incumbent from Kansas. With roughly 53% of the state vote, Davids will be the first Native American woman elected to Congress and Kansas’s first openly gay Congressional representative. An ex- MMA fighter, she is a former White House Fellow under President Obama and is part of the Ho-Chunk Nation Native American tribe. Davids will, along with newly-elected Native American Deb Haaland, join two Native American Congressmen who are registered Republicans in the House.
Ilhan Omar (D-MN) – First Somali-American and first Muslim woman elected to Congress
Ilhan Omar first made headlines as the first female Muslim lawmaker in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016. She is a Somali-American immigrant and won her first race unseating a forty-four year incumbent Democrat. Omar made history again this midterm cycle as the first female Muslim elected to Congress, replacing Keith Ellison who left the seat to run (unsuccessfully) for Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Omar will join the House with another Muslim-American winner this cycle, Rashida Tlaib.
Ayanna Pressley (D – MA) – First African-American woman to represent the state of Massachusetts in Congress
Ayanna Pressley will be the first woman of color to ever represent the state of Massachusetts in Congress. She was elected in the 7th Congressional District of the state which includes Boston, Somerville, and Chelsea. Pressley started her race in a double digit polling deficit and was asked numerous times to withdraw from the race for Democratic incumbent Michael Capuano who held the seat for ten terms. A former City Councilwoman, Pressley is a champion of the #MeToo movement as a rape survivor. “I have dedicated my life to combating trauma in all forms—domestic, sexual, gun violence—and so the opportunity to potentially be in Congress at a moment of elevated consciousness to codify activism in policy change is certainly an exciting prospect,” Pressley told The Nation in July 2018.
Letitia (Tish) James (D – NY) – First woman and first African-American to serve as New York State Attorney General
Tish James made history as the first woman and African-America to win the seat of Attorney General in the State of New York. She will be the 66th Attorney General of the state. In her current role as New York City public advocate, she is the first African-American woman to hold a citywide office. A lawyer, former City Councilwoman, and native New Yorker, she won her seat for New York State Attorney General with roughly 63% of the state vote. James has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and opted to run for her seat instead of taking a special party appointment when former New York AG Eric Schneiderman resigned amid sexual assault allegations at the height of the #MeToo movement.
Marsha Blackburn (R – TN) – First woman to represent Tennessee in Congress
Marsha Blackburn won her first statewide race this cycle and will be the first woman ever to represent Tennessee in Congress. She ran as a pro-Trump Senator with ads that framed the recent migration caravans fleeing South America as a national security threat to America. Her prior role as State Senator offered over a decade of experience to win her seat with roughly 54% of the vote. “Marsha Blackburn demonstrated the type of conservative leadership Tennessee voters want in Washington,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner said in a statement election night.