Nov 9, 2022, 1:03 AM – Updated on Nov 9, 2022, 1:03 AM
More women than ever ran for US governor, more Black women ran for Congress, and more LGBTQ people vied for a spot in the House of Representatives or Senate. As the results come in, many of those people are projected to win their races. They’re not only making history, but making the country’s governing bodies more representative of the people they serve.
Congress and governor’s houses have become more diverse in recent years, albeit slowly. The nation’s highest elected officials still skew White and male — even as the country becomes more racially and ethnically diverse.
This year, however, voters across the nation and political spectrum, elected a series of firsts. Here’s a list of candidates projected to win by the Associated Press:
- In Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore will be the state’s first Black governor. Moore is a combat veteran, Rhodes Scholar and the former chief executive officer of the Robin Hood Foundation, an organization that fights poverty in New York City and is backed by many on Wall Street.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Republican, has become the first woman elected to serve as governor of Arkansas. Sanders served as White House Press Secretary during Donald Trump’s presidency. There were nine women serving as governors as of Tuesday, tying a record set in 2014, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
- In Massachusetts, Maura Healey will be the first woman elected to serve as the state’s governor. (She’s not the first woman to serve in the role, however. In 2001, Republican Jane Swift, then lieutenant governor, became acting governor when Paul Cellucci resigned.) A Democrat, Healey is the first lesbian to win a governor’s race.
- Both Massachusetts and Arkansas elected women to both the governor and lieutenant governorships: Democrat Kim Driscoll campaigned with Healey in Massachusetts, while Republican Leslie Rutledge won her race in Arkansas and will serve alongside Huckabee Sanders.
- New York Governor Kathy Hochul became the first woman elected to the state’s chief executive position. The incumbent governor defeated Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, a member of the House of Representatives from Long Island. Hochul was first appointed governor after Andrew Cuomo resigned from the post in Aug. 2021.
The US Senate
- Incumbent California Senator Alex Padilla cemented his seat by becoming the first Latino elected to the role in the state’s history. Just under 40% of state residents are Hispanic or Latino; Padilla was appointed to the position that was vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris.
- Republican Katie Britt will be the first woman elected to represent Alabama in the Senate. She bested Democrat Will Boyd, and will take the seat vacated by her former boss, Sen. Richard Shelby. Britt is the first Republican woman to represent Alabama; the two Democrat women who previously held the position were both appointed.
The US House of Representatives
- For the first time, a member of Generation Z will have representation in Congress. Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost, an activist born in 1997, won an Orlando-area district previously held by Representative Val Demings. A survivor of gun violence, he previously worked with March for Our Lives, the nonprofit founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting.
- Pennsylvania elected its first Black woman to Congress: Summer Lee, a Democrat. A former organizer with the Fight for $15, a worker-rights group, Lee is set to represent the state’s 12th congressional district, which includes Pittsburgh.
- Illinois will have its first Latina member of Congress in Delia Ramirez, a Democrat. She will represent the state’s 3rd Congressional district, which includes parts of Chicago. She is the third person of Hispanic descent to represent the state in Congress; she follows Reps. Luis Gutiérrez and Jesús “Chuy” García.
- James Roesener, a Democrat, will be the first trans man to serve in a state legislature. He will represent New Hampshire’s 22nd state House District, Ward 8. Just over 6% of the 1,063 out LGBTQ candidates running in 2022 races were transgender, according to the Victory Fund, an incubator for LGBTQ candidates.
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