Midterm recap

Women candidates behind big night for Democrats in reclaiming control of the House

Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley makes her way to the stage during the Election Day Massachusetts Democratic Coordinated Campaign Election Night Celebration at the Fairmont Copley Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts on November 6, 2018. - (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

As the dust settles on the 2018 midterm elections, one thing has become clear: It was an unprecedented night for American women in government. Many pundits will debate and bicker over whether a much-anticipated blue wave actually materialized — the Democrats wrested control of the House of Representatives, but the Republicans held and built on their majority in the Senate — it’s indisputable that a so-called pink wave ruled the night. Here’s what to know as some results are still coming in and outcomes being decided.

At least 110 women were elected Tuesday night.

For the first time in American history, at least 100 women will take seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Two states elected women governors for the first time. Voters in South Dakota elected Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem governor and voters in Maine swept Democrat Janet Mills, the state’s attorney general, into office.

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women ever elected to U.S. Congress. Tlaib, a 42-year-old Democrat won after running unopposed and will now take over the seat representing Michigan’s 13th District House seat that was occupied for decades by Detroit civil rights icon John Conyers, who resigned last year amid sexual misconduct allegations. Tlaib is also the first ever Palestinian-American women elected to Congress. Omar, 36,  is also a Democrat and she will be the first hijab-wearing member of U.S. Congress, as well as the first Somali-American federal legislator, and the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in Congress.

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, celebrates with her supporters after her Congressional 5th District primary victory in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018 .(KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images)

In Kansas, Sharice Davids won the U.S. House seat representing the state’s 3rd congressional district. She will become the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas in Congress and the first openly lesbian and Native American woman to represent the state on a federal level. In New Mexico, Deb Haaland joined Davids as one of the first two Native American women elected to U.S. Congress as she won the race for the seat representing the state’s 1st Congressional District.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to U.S. Congress. She recently turned 29 and the outcome of her race was all but a foregone conclusion after she toppled a 10-term congressman in New York’s Democratic primary election back in June. Winning handily on Tuesday night was just her second election victory in as many tries.

In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman ever elected to U.S. Congress from the state. Pressley made waves with her rousing victory speech, a highlight of which can be seen below. Pressley, who in 2009 became the first black woman ever elected to Boston’s City Council, also upset a 10-term congressman.

Some GOP women won big too. Tennessee elected Republican Marsha Blackburn as the first woman to ever represent the state in the U.S. Senate. Blackburn, a member of the U.S. House of representatives, defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen, the former governor who had won a major endorsement form Taylor Swift, which, in the end, didn’t translate to votes.

U.S. Senate candidate for Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) (L) speaks to supporters during an election night party November 6, 2018 in Franklin, Tennessee. Rep. Blackburn has beat Democrat Phil Bredesen and won the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, both Democrats, became the first Latina women elected to U.S. Congress to represent Texas after then won races for the 16th and 29th Congressional Districts.

Even Guam has a woman governor now! The U.S. territory which cannot vote in presidential elections and has a non-voting member of Congress elected Lou Leon Guerrero its first woman governor on Monday.

As Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post pointed out, “If there was one group that handed Democrats the House, it was women.” Some numbers Rubin cited that illustrate that point: Overall, women voted Democratic by a 20 percent margin while men favored Republicans by just three points. Married women voted for Democrats by a 55 to 43 percent margin. A similar margin was seen among independent women voters who went for Democrats 57 to 39 percent, and  white women, the group that played a critical role in Trump’s 2016 win, voted Democratic by a 50 to 48 percent margin. Rounding out the numbers, white college-educated women picked Dems by a 60 to 38 percent margin. Pink wave indeed.

For more on the night of firsts, watch the video below.

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