Tuesday was a historic day! More women ran for office in 2018 than ever before and more women won! Voters were determined more than ever to elect feminists to positions of leadership. We have ushered in the most diverse Congress in history with huge wins for women, minorities and LGBTQ. Thank you to all who canvassed, made phone calls, wrote letters, protested, marched, walked out, showed up, voted and got up every day exhausted, but found the strength to go on.
Here is what happened:
- More than 110 women are headed to Congress (some races still to be determined)
- 98 to the House and 12 to the Senate
- 9 female Governors elected: Gina Raimondo (D-RI); Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI); Janet Mills (D-ME); Kate Brown (D-OR); Kay Ivey(R-AL); Kim Reynolds (R-IA); Kristi Noem (R-SD); Laura Kelly (D-KS); Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
- Two transgender women, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
- The first openly gay man elected as Governor in Colorado who is also the state’s first Jewish Governor (Jared Polis)
- Chris Pappas is New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress
- Two Native American women elected to the House: Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe in New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Kansas
- The first lesbian Native American elected to the House from Kansas (Sharice Davids)
- In Texas, the first two Latinas, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, elected to the House
- In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley, the first African American woman elected to Congress, beat a 10-term incumbent
- In Connecticut, the National Teacher of the Year 2016 Jahana Hayesis the first African American woman going to Congress
- 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a Latina from New York, became the youngest woman ever going to Congress
- The first Muslim women elected to Congress from Michigan (Rashida Tlaib) and Minnesota (Ilhan Omar)
- Safiya Wazir, an Afghan refugee woman, headed to New Hampshire State House
- Ilhan Omar, a refugee, is the first Somali American to be elected to Congress
- Rashida Tlaib is the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress
- Angie Craig, defeats anti-LGBTQ congressman in Minnesota to become the first lesbian mom to be headed to Congress from Minnesota
- Former Dreamer, Catalina Cruz, a woman who was undocumented for 10 years, is headed to the New York State House
- Two transgender women, Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker, are elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives
- Democrats Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodard become the first LGBTQ members of the Kansas state legislature
- Zach Wahls, who defended his two lesbian moms before the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011, becomes a state lawmaker himself
- Malcolm Kenyatta is the first LGBTQ black man elected to the Pennsylvania legislature
- Teri Johnston is elected mayor of Key West, Florida, becoming the state’s first lesbian mayor
- Massachusetts voters uphold transgender rights protections
- Kate Brown, the country’s first lesbian governor, and Tammy Baldwin, the first LGBTQ senator, are re-elected
- Kim Davis (yes, THAT Kim Davis) was defeated in reelection bid by the man she refused a marriage license to
We have a lot to celebrate!
After the first Women’s March, many mocked us. They laughed at our protests and said we would never make a difference at the polls. One politician called us “silly girls”. On Tuesday, we proved them wrong! It is astounding to think about how far women have come since the first women’s marches across the country the day after President Trump was inaugurated. Many of these 2018 candidates were considered long shots, but they organized and they won! We all resisted, we persisted and we won!
And persist we will, because the struggle is far from over. We must work even harder going forward. 2020 is just around the corner. Celebrate our successes, get some rest and get back in the fight. The National Organization for Women needs you. Together we can move full steam ahead and change the world.
Melba Evans, President
National Organization for Women, Charlotte