Closing The Gap

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and 13 others who made history in the 2018 midterm election

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks in support of Brent Welder during a rally at The Reardon Convention Center on Friday, July 20, 2018 in Kansas City, KS. 
Dan Videtich | The Washington Post | Getty Images

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.

Now, half a century later, political history is still being made. According to an analysis from The New York Times, the midterm election featured an unprecedented number of women, people of color and LGBTQ candidates. The number of white male candidates running for office was the lowest it has been in the past four elections. A record number of more than 100 women were elected to the House — the most in history.

In New York, 29-year-old Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to New York's 14th Congressional District. Her victory makes her the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress.

"This is what is possible when every day people come together in the collective realization that all our actions — no matter how small or how large — are powerful, worthwhile and capable of lasting change," Ocasio-Cortez said in a speech after her victory.

Take a look below to see 15 candidates who had historic wins.

U.S. Senators

Marsha Blackburn (R) - Tennessee

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Getty Images

In Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen and independents Trudy Austin, John Carico, Dean Hill, Kevin McCants, Breton Phillips and Kris Todd to become the state's next senator. She will become the first female senator from Tennessee.

Kyrsten Sinema (D) - Arizona

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema participates in the pregame coin toss before the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. 
Christian Petersen | Getty Images

After a close race in Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally with 49.68 percent of the votes. She will become Arizona's first female senator and the first openly bisexual senator in the country. 


Janet Mills (D) - Maine

Attorney General and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills speaks during a Democratic picnic in South Portland, Saturday, September 8, 2018. 
Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

In Maine, Democrat Janet Mills beat Republican Shawn Moody and independent Terry Hayes to become the state's first female governor.

Kristi Noem (R) - South Dakota

Rep. Kristi Noem, a Republican from South Dakota
Aaron P. Bernstein | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In South Dakota, Republican Kristi Noem defeated Democrat Billie Sutton and Libertarian Kurt Evans, making her the state's first female governor.

Jared Polis (D) - Colorado

Jared Polis (D-Colo)
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call

In Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis beat Republican Walker Stapleton, Unity Party leader Bill Hammons and Libertarian Scott Helker. His victory makes him the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S.

U.S. Representatives

Sharice Davids (D) - Kansas' 3rd Congressional District

Democratic candidate for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District Sharice Davids speaks to members of the media after casting her ballot on November 6, 2018 in Shawnee, Kansas.
Whitney Curtis | Getty Images

In Kansas' 3rd District, Democrat Sharice Davids beat Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder and Libertarian Chris Clemmons, making her the first lesbian Native American to be elected to Congress. She will also be the first congresswoman to have once been a professional mixed martial arts fighter, reports The New York Times.

Veronica Escobar (D) - Texas's 16th Congressional District

Judge Veronica Escobar in her office Thursday, November 3, 2016.
The Washington Post | Getty Images

In Texas's 16th Congressional District, Democrat Veronica Escobar defeated Republican Rick Seeberger and Independent Ben Mendoza. Her victory makes her one of the first Latinas to represent Texas in Congress, alongside Sylvia Garcia. She will replace Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost the Senate race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Sylvia Garcia (D) - Texas's 29th Congressional District

Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia moderates a panel at the 34th annual NALEO conference in Dallas on June 23, 2017.
Omar Vega | LatinContent Editorial | Getty Images

In Texas's 29th Congressional District, Democrat Sylvia Garcia beat Republican Phillip Aronoff and Libertarian Cullen Burns. Her victory makes her one of the first Latinas to represent Texas in Congress.

Debra Haaland (D) - New Mexico's 1st Congressional District

Native American candidate Deb Haaland who is running for Congress in New Mexico's 1st congressional district seat for the upcoming mid-term elections, speaks in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 1, 2018.
MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images

In New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, Democrat Debra Haaland beat Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton. When she is sworn in, she will join Davids as the first Native American congresswomen.

Jahana Hayes (D) - Connecticut's 5th Congressional District

National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes (C) has a hard time controlling her excitement after taking the stage with U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R), Education Secretary John King (R) and her fellow state teachers of the year during a White House ceremony on May 3, 2016. 
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

In Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, former National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, defeated Republican Manny Santos. Her election will make her the first black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) - New York's 14th Congressional District

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks in support of Brent Welder during a rally at The Reardon Convention Center on Friday, July 20, 2018 in Kansas City, KS. 
Dan Videtich | The Washington Post | Getty Images

At just 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. In June, she defeated leading House Democrat Joe Crowley to win the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional District of New York.

Ilhan Omar (D) - Minnesota's 5th Congressional District

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar speaks during the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party endorsement convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 17, 2018. 
Emilie Richardson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, Democrat Ilhan Omar defeated Republican Jennifer Zielinski, making her the first Somali-American elected to Congress. She, along with Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

Ayanna Pressley (D) - Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District

Ayanna Pressley
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman to be elected to Congress from Massachusetts. She ran unopposed after defeating 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano earlier this year in the Democratic primary for the state's 7th Congressional District.

Rashida Tlaib (D) - Michigan's 13th Congressional District

Democrats pick former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib to run unopposed for the congressional seat that former Rep. John Conyers held for more than 50 years.
Al Goldis | AP 

After winning the Democratic nomination for Michigan's 13th Congressional District, Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib ran unopposed. She will replace long-time Rep. John Conyers, 89, who resigned from the position due amid health issues and sexual harassment allegations in December.

Attorneys General

Letitia James (D) - New York attorney general

Public Advocate Letitia James
Jenny Anderson | Getty Images

In New York, Democrat Letitia James defeated Republican Keith Wofford to become the state's attorney general. James, 60, is the first woman and first African-American to be elected to this position in New York.

This post will be updated as the results of additional races are confirmed.

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