There was a lot of good news for Democrats on Tuesday night, but there’s also good news for America as a whole: More than 100 women were elected to Congress.
That’s a new record.
According to ABC News, at least 98 women (84 Democrats and 14 Republicans) were elected to the House of Representatives, and 12 (10 Democrats and 2 Republicans) were elected to the Senate.
(Note: These numbers may change as some races for the House are still too close to call.)
Too many women were elected to list or highlight them all, but here’s a look at 5 new members of the United States House of Representatives that I’ve found most interesting and inspiring:
For the first time, Native Americans will serve in Congress — Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico.
Sharice Davids is a former MMA fighter and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and she also becomes the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. She will represent Kansas’ 3rd congressional district, which hugs the border with Missouri and covers many of Kansas City’s southwestern suburbs.
Georgia’s 6th congressional district made news in 2017 when Republican Karen Handel narrowly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election. Lucy McBath, an activist whose son was killed by gun violence, succeeded where Ossoff failed, beating Handel in a close election.
This is a traditionally red seat. Newt Gingrich once held this seat. Winning in Georgia’s 6th congressional district is a huge victory for Democrats.
Republican Dave Brat sent shockwaves through the Republican Party when he beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary for Virgina’s 7th congressional district in 2014. Many say that Brat’s defeat of Cantor inspired Republicans to shelve the possibility of a deal on comprehensive immigration reform.
On Tuesday night, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews described Brat as a “totem” for what white nationalist Republicans like Donald Trump espouse.
And then Brat lost.
He lost to Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer and a mother to young children. There’s a great photo of Spanberger giving her victory speech with one of her kids wedged between her legs:
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) November 7, 2018
I first noticed Spanberger when a clip of her debate performance went viral. Take a look (and fast forward to the 1:57 mark to see the best part):
Lauren Underwood earned her victory in Illinois’ 14th congressional district. She beat 6 white, male candidates in the Democratic primary, and then she beat a four-term incumbent in the general election.
Underwood, a 32-year-old nurse, becomes the first woman and the first person of color to represent the district, which is in the Chicago suburbs. For anyone who thinks they don’t have the skills or experience to run for office, be inspired by Underwood’s passion and dedication to her community. She ran a great race, and she will be a great congresswoman.
Only in America. We’ve written about Ilhan Omar in the past. Her race wasn’t really in doubt, but it’s now official: She has won Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, which makes her the first Somali-American and the first Muslim refugee to serve in the House of Representatives.
The Democratic Caucus Looks Like America
Policies aside, one thing always stands out to me about the Democratic Party: It looks like America.
There are men and women.
There are the young and the old.
There are Christians and Jews and Muslims.
There are straight and LGBT individuals.
There are rich and poor.
There are CIA officers and MMA fighters and immigrants and activists and nurses.
And that’s simply not the case on the other side of the aisle.
Here’s to these 100-plus women who are now representing people back home. And let’s push to set another record for women in Congress (and perhaps in the White House, too) in 2020.