For the first time, Native American and Muslim women headed to Congress

Cheryl Sanders
November 7, 2018

Liberal groups heralded the positive impact women had on the election and said it will be felt on the legislation front as well after the new U.S. Congress convenes next year. Numerous 237 women on the ballot in this election were facing entrenched incumbents who typically enjoy a major advantage in fundraising and name recognition.

- Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer: Iowa's first women in the U.S. House.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily Democratic district in Minneapolis, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress.

"Tonight, we reaffirm what an fantastic state that we live in", he said in his victory speech.

The resignation of former Rep. John Conyers Jr. due to health concerns triggered an open seat, and Tlaib was unopposed in her contest.


Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women elected to Congres.

"Powered by a massive turnout of women and fuelled by our incredible candidates, House Democrats gained several seats in the heartland", Democratic representative Cheri Bustos of IL said in a statement Tuesday night after House control was called for Democrats. She has not only become one of the first indigenous women elected into the House, but is also the first lesbian congresswoman from Kansas.

"Now you don't have to worry if you're going to call me congressman or congresswoman or congress lady", Blackburn said in her victory speech.

The number will nearly certainly end up being north of 100, as 14 races also remain undecided in which a woman is running against a man. Pappas and Davids are part of this year's Rainbow wave that saw a record amount of LGBT candidates (244, according to the New York Times) run for office. Nevada now has two female senators after Democrat Jacky Rosen defeated incumbent Republican Dean Heller.

Women also were on the ballot for governor in 16 states this year.


Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, according to their respective campaigns.

Republican Marsha Blackburn won a gruelling, expensive contest to become the first female USA senator from Tennessee.

Female candidates won congressional seats and governorships in record numbers Tuesday night.

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at her midterm election night party in New York City on Tuesday. Wallace also suggested Ingraham was being hypocritical, saying that if she gives Republicans credit for keeping the Senate, she must also give the Democrats credit for flipping the House.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Hispanic activist who won a surprising primary victory against a 10-term white incumbent, is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley, a 44-year-old member of the Boston City Council who scored a similar upset win, is the first black woman elected to Congress from MA.


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