Nov. 7 (UPI) — Women will be going to Congress in historic numbers after Tuesday’s midterm elections, with some winning key gubernatorial races as well.
Some were expected, such as Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn becoming the first woman to win a seat in the Senate there, beating back former governor and Democrat Phil Bredesen.
Also expected was a wave of Democratic women winning seats that helped the party regain control of the House of Representatives.
Those wins included the first two Native American women to win seats in Congress — Sharice Davids in Kansas and Deb Haaland in New Mexico — along with the first two Muslim women to win seats, Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota.
Veronica Escobar became the first Hispanic woman to win a congressional seat in Texas, replacing Beto O’Rourke, who left the spot to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz.
In New York, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at age 29, became the youngest woman elected to Congress.
In all, 31 women will take seats in the House for the first time, coupled with 65 who retained their seats, for 96 altogether, beating the old congressional record of 85 for women in the chamber, CNN reported.
One more woman will be added to the Senate — either Republican Martha McSally or Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona. McSally leads a race that was too close to call Wednesday with “thousands” of ballots still to count in the race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake.
Democratic women scored some victories in gubernatorial races, as well.
While much of the nation’s attention was focused on the Georgia gubernatorial race, where Stacey Abrams trailed Brian Kemp in a too-close-to-call race, Laura Kelly’s victory in Kansas was one that few saw coming.
Kelly, a Democrat, was within the margin of error in recent polls against Kansas’ secretary of state Kris Kobach, but Kobach led in early all of those surveys and had the backing of President Donald Trump in a solidly red state.
Kobach was considered hyper-partisan and his effort to take his voter fraud crusade nationally fell flat when Trump abandoned a commission looking into the matter earlier this year. Kelly won with 47.8 percent of the vote to Kobach’s 43.3. Independent Greg Orman played spoiler, capturing 6.5 percent.
“Today, Kansans voted for change,” Kelly said in her victory speech, the Topeka Capitol-Journal reported. “A change not only in the direction of our state, but a change in tone. We chose to put people before politics. … Partisanship was put above all else and it tore our state apart. That ended today.”
In Michigan, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer returned the governor’s seat to the Democrats in a win that was expected over Republican Bill Schuette, winning 53.2 percent of the vote to 44 percent. More importantly, Michigan is a state won by Trump and will need to hold on to 2020 for re-election.
Republican Kristi Noem captured the South Dakota governor’s race, becoming the first woman win there, beating Democrat Billie Sutton.