Democrats regained control of the House and flipped multiple governor seats Tuesday night and former President Barack Obama not only celebrated the winning candidates, but also the sheer number of voters who showed up on Tuesday and the changing demographics of those elected to office.
“I congratulate everybody who showed up and participated in our democracy yesterday,” Obama said in a statement released Wednesday.
“Obviously, the Democrats’ success in flipping the House of Representatives, several governorships, and state legislatures will get the most attention. But even more important than what we won is how we won: by competing in places we haven’t been competitive in a long time, and by electing record numbers of women and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a surge of minority candidates, and a host of outstanding young leaders. The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America.”
The former president is right on all fronts, elected lawmakers represent more backgrounds than ever before. According to Military Times, 77 veterans won major races last night. According to the Washington Post, at least 95 women are headed to Congress following last night’s election — setting a new record. Among those elected are the first Muslim and Native American ever elected to Congress. Multiple LGBT candidates won big-ticket elections last night as well.
“On a personal note, Michelle and I couldn’t be prouder of the alumni of my administration who took the baton and won their races last night. Even the young candidates across the country who fell short have infused new energy and new blood into our democratic process, and America will be better off for it for a long time to come.”
Many people that worked under the Obama administration ran for and won some significant offices, such as Eleni Kounalakis, who won the seat for California Lt. Governor.
“I also want to congratulate voters across the country for turning out in record numbers, and for voting for several ballot initiatives that will improve the lives of the American people – like raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and strengthening voting rights.”
Some major ballot initiatives that passed last night included Florida’s 4th Amendment which extends voting rights to convicted felons except those convicted of murder or sex crimes. NPR also reported that Maryland passed a state amendment to allow same-day voter registration.
“Our work goes on. The change we need won’t come from one election alone – but it is a start. Last night, voters across the country started it. And I’m hopeful that going forward, we’ll begin a return to the values we expect in our public life – honesty, decency, compromise, and standing up for one another as Americans, not separated by our differences, but bound together by one common creed.”