Meet the History-Makers of the 116th Congress

Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

Diversity has been a hallmark of the 2018 midterm elections, which have seen a record number of women, minorities and first-time candidates running for office.

Here are some of the history-makers from election night.

Deb Haaland, D-N.M.

Haaland shares the distinction of being the first Native American woman elected to Congress with Kansas’ Sharice Davids. An enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland easily won the race for New Mexico’s 1st District to succeed fellow Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Veronica Escobar, D-Texas

With her victory in Texas’ 16th District, Escobar, a former El Paso County judge, becomes the first Latina elected to represent the Lone Star State in Congress — along with Sylvia Garcia, who took a Houston-based seat Tuesday night. Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke vacated the 16th District seat for an unsuccessful Senate run.

Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas

Garcia, a state senator, easily won Texas’ 29th District on Tuesday night, becoming the first Latina elected to Congress from the Lone Star State, an honor she shared with Escobar. Garcia ran for the seat in 1992, but lost in the primary that was eventually won by Gene Green in a runoff. Green’s retirement opened the door for her to run for the seat again, and she easily won the party primary in March.

Joe Neguse, D-Colo.

By winning Colorado’s 2nd District, Neguse becomes the first Eritrean-American elected to Congress. The son of immigrants from the East African nation, Neguse replaces fellow Democrat Jared Polis who ran for governor. The result is a happy midterm reversal for Neguse from four years ago, when he lost a race for Colorado secretary of state.

Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Blackburn easily kept Tennessee’s Senate seat in GOP hands Tuesday night, becoming the Volunteer State’s first female senator. The eight-term congresswoman is also the first Republican woman to win statewide office in Tennessee.

Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib becomes the first Muslim woman elected to Congress — along with Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar — after she faced only token opposition in Michigan’s heavily Democratic 13th District. She will also be the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress.

Sharice Davids, D-Kan.

Davids becomes one of the first Native American women elected to Congress after picking up Kansas’ 3rd District seat. It’s an honor she shares with New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, who also won her race Tuesday night. Davids is also the first openly gay lawmaker that Kansans have sent to Congress.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla.

With her upset of two-term Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s 26th District, Mucarsel-Powell becomes the first Ecuadorean-American elected to Congress.

Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

After easily winning her Minneapolis-based 5th District, Omar becomes the first Somali-American elected to Congress. She will replace Democrat Keith Ellison, who vacated the seat to run for state attorney general. Omar will also be one of the first Muslim-American women elected to Congress, along with Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib.

Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

Pressley became the first African-American Democrat to be elected to Congress from Massachusetts on Tuesday night. She faced no Republican opposition in the 7th District. The Boston city councilor is also the first African-American elected to the House from the Bay State. Pressley unseated Rep. Michael E. Capuano in a Democratic primary in September.

(Article written by Andrew Menezes)