All the Ways Democrats Made History on Tuesday

Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Nation-Wide Firsts

Youngest Woman in Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rose to fame in her surprise victory in the primaries, defeating incumbent Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) for New York’s 14th Congressional District. At 28 years old, Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic Socialist ideals of Medicare for all and free public college tuition have captured the attention of a younger liberal crowd.

First Native American Women in Congress

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland picked up Congressional seats for Democrats in Kansas and New Mexico Tuesday night, making them the first Native American women elected to Congress in history. Davids also became the second-ever lesbian woman elected to Congress.

Sharice Davids
OLATHE, KS – NOVEMBER 06: Democratic candidate for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District Sharice Davids speaks to supporters during an election night party on November 6, 2018 in Olathe, Kansas. Davids defeated incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

First Muslim Women in Congress

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar both became America’s first Muslim women to sit in the House of Representatives. Omar and Tlaib have worked with each other throughout their campaigns. They also picked up two more firsts for Congress: Tlaib is the first-ever Palestinian-American and Omar the first Somalian-American to serve in that office.

First Openly Gay Governor

Jared Polis easily won his bid for Colorado’s gubernatorial seat Tuesday night and in doing so became the first openly gay man ever elected as governor. Polis was also the first openly gay man elected to Congress in 2008. The first ever openly LGBT governor, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a bisexual woman, won her re-election bid Tuesday as well.

Jared Polis
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 12: Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) joins veterans, servicemembers and aspiring recruits to call on Congress and President Barack Obama to move forward with immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol November 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. The news conference participants called on Obama to ‘go bold and go big’ and to use his executive authority to reform immigration if Congress could not get the job done. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

State-Wide Firsts

Texas — First Latina Congresswomen

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia won House races in Texas, making them the first Latina women to ever represent the state. According to CBS Dallas, the Hispanic population in the Southern state is expected to surpass the white population as soon as 2022.

New Hampshire — First Openly Gay Congressman

Chris Pappas just became the first openly gay person to represent the people of New Hampshire. 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.

Massachusetts — First Black Congresswoman

Ayanna Pressley became the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives for Massachusetts — a state with that has a black population of only eight percent. On Wednesday, Pressley tweeted why the victory was so important to her:

“When it comes to women of color candidates, folks don’t just talk about a glass ceiling – what they describe is a concrete one. WE broke that concrete wide open.”

Ayanna Pressley
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 01: Boston City Councilor and Democratic congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley speaks at a rally calling on Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to reject Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on October 1, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Sen. Flake is scheduled to give a talk at the Forbes 30 under 30 event in Boston after recently calling for a one week pause in the confirmation process to give the FBI more time to investigate sexual assault allegations. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Bonus: Guam — First Female Governor

In the first major race called Tuesday night, Lou Leon Guerrero was elected as Guam’s governor, becoming the first woman to do so. Democrats celebrated the victory as Guerrero’s win also meant a blue flip for the U.S. island territory.

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