Women Make History in Midterms

More women ran for political office this fall than at any other time in U.S. history—and they won. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “At least 2,073 women will occupy seats in the 50 state houses, an increase of more than 190 than during the 2018 session. The nationwide share of female legislators will be around 28.1 percent, nearly three percentage points higher than in 2018.” 

In the 2018 midterms, at least 103 women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, exceeding the old record of 85 by a sizeable margin. (Some races are still undecided.) But, the “Year of the Woman” was not distributed evenly among the political parties. Overwhelmingly, those who ran for office in the midterms were Democrats (67%). And while a record number of Democratic women were elected to Congress, the number of Republican women in Congress next year will actually decline. Carol Miller of West Virginia was the only Republican woman elected to Congress for the first time.

There were many notable wins to report in this year’s midterms, including: 

  • The first Native American women to serve in Congress: Sharice Davids (Kansas) and Deb Haaland (New Mexico); 
  • The first two Muslim women in Congress: Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota); 
  • The first female senator from Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn; 
  • The first female senator from Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema
  • The first Hispanic women elected to Congress from Texas: Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia; and 
  • South Dakota’s first female governor: Kristi Noem.

Of local note, Bradley University graduate Laura Kelly was one of nine women who won gubernatorial races in November. She is the governor-elect of Kansas. iBi

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