Midterms Usher Wave Of Young, Democratic Women Of Color Into House

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Voters in Minnesota and MI elected the first two Muslim women to serve in the U.S. Congress, a former refugee who fled Somalia's civil war and a Detroit-born Palestinian-American.

Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman to represent MA in Congress and will occupy the seat held by such lions as JFK and Tip O'Neill.

Pressley was the first black woman on Boston's City Council, and she defeated 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary. A projected win for Tennessee Republican Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn came the same night as the projected loss for North Dakota Democratic Sen.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, could be the youngest woman elected to Congress, and represented a surge of Democrats challenging more senior and established members of the party.

But for Congresswoman-Elect Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), it is important to keep what is happening in perspective, and not whitewash the wrongdoing of fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions - a sentiment she made clear to CNN's Chris Cuomo. The data showed that this year, white women split their vote between Democratic and Republican candidates for the House, but they preferred Republican candidates in 2010 and 2014.

And some history hangs in the balance - in the contentious Georgia governor's race, Stacey Abrams stands to be the first black female governor, and she's waiting until all votes are counted before conceding to her opponent who held a tiny margin ahead of her at press time.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's surprise victory in the June congressional primary in NY shook up Washington and the Democratic Party. She did not face a challenger in the general election, making her the first black member of the House of Representatives from MA.

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Omar is also the first Somali American to serve in the US Congress. In July 2004, she took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. - becoming the first woman to command a fighter squadron.

Democrat Mike Espy, who will face Mississippi Republican Representative Cindy Hyde-Smith in a December runoff, could become the state's first black senator since Reconstruction.

In Colorado, Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor in American history. Such representation is particularly marked when President Trump has made flagrant anti-Muslim bigotry a key part of his political rhetoric, and some state-level Republicans are attempting to disenfranchise Native Americans en masse with Jim Crow tactics.

More women ran in congressional primaries this year than ever before, mostly as Democrats.

It's a telling representation of the fact that, as The Intercept's Ryan Grim writes, the last two years of fervent anti-Trump organizing have been "largely led by women in support of women". A previous tally from Rutgers' Center for American Woman and Politics had the current record total of women in the House at 84 and the overall total including the Senate at 107. Stratton ran with Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned for an expansion of health care, job creation and early childhood education.

"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. In the House, 96 women have reportedly won or are projected to win their races.

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