Out of many, several firsts elected across USA in midterms

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A former National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, will become Connecticut's first black woman in Congress. Newcomer Ayanna Pressley of MA who ousted a 10-term incumbent in the primary will become the first black congresswoman from MA.

The high-profile midterm cycle that produced a record number of women contenders and candidates of colour meant several winners will take office as trailblazers, marking firsts for their race and gender.

Voters in two states also elected the country's first Muslim women to the House: Rashida Tlaib, a former state legislator running in Detroit, and Ilhan Omar, a state legislator running in Minneapolis.

Some of the big wins for Democrats on Tuesday were experienced leaders, like Michigan's Gov. -elect Gretchen Whitmer, who led the Democrats in the state Senate, or Kansas's Gov. -elect Laura Kelly, who has served in the Kansas state Senate since 2005.

Georgia candidate Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, was in a fierce battle to become America's first black woman governor, while Democrat Andrew Gillum narrowly lost his bid to become the first black governor of Florida.

Jahana Hayes similarly will join the freshman class as Connecticut's first black female representative. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who cruised to an easy victory in New York's 14th District, will be the youngest member of the House at age 29 - but only just behind Abby Finkenauer, who won in Iowa's 1st District and is also 29. While they did take control of the House of Representatives, liberals suffered some painful defeats, especially in the Senate.

She added that even women of colour who were unsuccessful will inspire a new crop of candidates, similar to the white women encouraged to run after Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential election loss. "And make no mistake about it, we are the defenders of our democracy".

Kate Brown, who is bisexual, became the first openly LGBT person elected governor in 2016 when she won her OR race. Democrat Janet Mills of ME and Republican Kristi Noem of South Dakota are the first women elected as governor in their state. South Dakota Republican US Representative Kristi Noem and Maine Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills were both elected to serve as governors of their home states. According to VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate: about 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat, compared with 4 in 10 for the Republican.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the Democrats who is considering the 2020 race, said that the two years since Trump ascended to the White House had ushered a new generation of women into public life.

White women have been a target of attack by progressives all year, but many such complaints surfaced during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was falsely accused of sexual harassment in October.

Nearly 80% of voters in a CNN exit poll said it's very or somewhat important that more women and racial minorities be elected to public office, with two-thirds of white voters agreeing.

At least 99 women will represent Americans in the House, surpassing the previous record of 84.

The gains among women on Capitol Hill come as potential Democratic candidates for president are already taking steps to challenge Trump, several prominent female Democrats among them. Women's issues are the economy, their education, their gun control.

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