Some candidates didn’t just win on Tuesday, they also broke barriers.
Those victories included the first female governors elected in Arkansas and Massachusetts; the first Black person to be elected governor of Maryland; and the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress.
In some ways, this election had already made history for the diversity of candidates running. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people ran for office in all 50 states for the first time, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The number of such candidates on the ballot also increased 18% from 2020, it said, many of them galvanized by a wave of measures in Republican-led states attacking the community.
This cycle also set records for the number of women running for governor, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. But the same was not true of the Senate and the House, where female candidates in the general election fell short of the highs reached in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
“You can’t expect a 2018 or a 2020 every election cycle,” Walsh said. But “it doesn’t mean we’re not seeing progress.”
The overturning of Roe v. Wade could also have far-reaching impacts, Walsh said. By the time the Supreme Court issued its decision in June, the ballot deadlines for November’s elections had nearly all passed. But looking ahead to 2024, Walsh said, the ruling on abortion might be “another one of those catalyzing moments that propels women to step off the sidelines.”
Here are some of the candidates who made history Tuesday:
Moore, 44, a Democrat and a political newcomer, will become the first Black governor in Maryland’s history. Because Stacey Abrams lost her race in Georgia, Moore will be the only Black governor in the country and the third since Reconstruction (the other two were Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Douglas Wilder in Virginia).
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Sanders, a Republican, won her race and will become the first woman governor of Arkansas. Sanders, 40, was former president Donald Trump’s press secretary and is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Healey, a 51-year-old Democrat who is the attorney general of Massachusetts, became the first woman to be elected governor in the state’s history. She is also the first openly lesbian woman to be elected governor in the country.
Mullin, 45, a Republican member of Congress and a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, won election to the Senate. He is the first Native American senator in nearly two decades and the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in a century.
Frost, 25, is a liberal Democrat at the first member of Gen Z – those born after 1996 – to win a seat in Congress. Frost, an activist, will represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District, a deep-blue constituency.
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