At least 100 women, including 84 Democrats, have been elected to Congress and this number will potentially rise as the results of close races are determined.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on November 8, 2018

A further 12 women (10 Democrats, two Republicans) will become Senators under the latest forecast by ABC News.

Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez won election in New York, becoming the youngest ever Congresswoman at 29.

“This is what is possible when everyday people come together in the collective realisation that all our actions — no matter how small or how large — are powerful, worthwhile and capable of lasting change,” Ocasio-Cortez told supporters in her victory speech. “Words cannot express my gratitude.”

A newly diverse group of candidates in the US mid-term elections

It was a night of firsts. Ilhan Omar, a Democratic candidate in Minnesota, won easily to become the first American-Somali to be elected to US Congress.

After fleeing war-torn Somalia as a child, Omar spent four years living in a refugee camp in Kenya. She has pledged to use her new platform to work for the protection of women and refugees.

Omar and Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-born Democrat from Michigan, became the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress.

Number of women running in the elections was up 42% from just two years ago

272 of the 964 candidates involved were women, representing 28% of the nominees. The number of women running was up 42% from the 2016 presidential election.

Before the mid-term election, women held just 19.8% of seats in US Congress.

The new gender diversity was seen more strongly among the Democratic candidates. Just 41% of Democratic nominees for Congress or Governor roles were white men, marking the first time this demographic has been a minority. Among Republicans, 75% of candidates were white men.

This year’s candidate cohort was also more racially diverse than ever before; 216 of those on the ballot were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Multi-Racial. Many nationalities had their first ever representation in Congress. In California, Young Kim became the first ever Korean-American Congresswoman.

More LGBT candidates than ever before

In Colorado, Jared Polis won the gubernatorial race for the Democrats. He campaigned for stronger gun laws and abolishment of the death penalty, among other progressive causes. He became the first openly gay man to be elected Governor.

26 candidates identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, setting a new record.

Sharice Davids was successful in her Congress race in Kansas and became the first lesbian Native American to win election to the House. She was one of the candidates that formed a so-called ‘rainbow wave’ of LGBT nominees in this year’s election.

Davids is also believed to be the first former professional mixed martial arts fighter in Congress.

Header image credit: Lori Shaull