The results of the much-anticipated midterm elections began rolling in Tuesday night, with history being made in several key races by candidates including Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and Jared Polis, the first openly gay male elected governor.
With Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota losing her Senate seat in a close contest with Republican Kevin Cramer, multiple news outlets have projected that Republicans will hold their control of the U.S. Senate, which was the expected outcome. Democrats still appear poised to flip the House.
With so much of the political dynamic in the country riding on the midterms, here are the results of some of the most high-profile battles in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as for governor.
Donna Shalala, Former HHS Secretary Under Bill Clinton, Flips Key House Seat
Shalala, the former HHS secretary under Bill Clinton, flipped a key House seat in the Miami, Florida, area that had long been the desire of Democrats. The 77 year-old beat Republican Salazar to become one of the oldest Freshmen House members in history. Shalala won on a platform of women’s rights, civil rights, increased access to health care, better education and schools, and a clean, sustainable environment.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Become the First Muslim Women Elected to Congress
On Tuesday night, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Tlaib, a Democrat, earned the title after securing the only major party nomination for Michigan’s 13th district, which includes parts of Detroit and suburbs near the city. She won with almost 80 percent of the vote.
Somali-American Omar won Minnesota’s strongly Democratic fifth congressional district, replacing the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, who left his seat to run in the state’s attorney general race.
Marsha Blackburn Becomes Tennessee’s First Female Senator as She Defeats Taylor Swift-Backed Phil Bredesen
Conservative warrior Marsha Blackburn beat former two-term governor Democrat Phil Bredesen with 61 percent of the vote after only 25 percent of the state had reported. She has become the first ever woman senator for the Southern state. Her victory comes in spite of pop star Taylor Swift speaking out in favor of Bredesen, largely because she said she couldn’t agree with Blackburn’s stances on issues of human rights. Blackburn ran on a platform of strict immigration laws, free markets, among other standard Republican stances.
Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk Who Refused Gay Marriage Licenses, Loses
Republican Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples lost her bid for re-election on Tuesday. Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. beat Davis in the race for Rowan County clerk, 54 percent to 46 percent, NPR reported.
Ted Cruz Bests Beto O’Rourke in Perhaps the Most Watched Midterm Race in the Country
One of the nation’s most high-profile Senate races has a winner: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
NBC News, ABC News, The New York Times, Politico and CNN have all projected that Cruz will defeat Democrat Beto O’Rourke to win re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate.
While a Cruz victory was predictable, it was far from certain, according to polls leading up to Tuesday’s midterms. Texas’ deep red history means that it should’ve been a landslide for the senator, 47, but instead, he never secured a lead of more than nine points over the progressive O’Rourke, 46. The state hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.
On Tuesday night, Jared Polis, a Democrat who ran against Republican Walker Stapleton for Colorado governor, became the first openly gay male candidate to be elected governor in the history of the U.S. Polis secured his title by running on a progressive platform and often referenced his sexuality to criticize the current White House administration.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Becomes the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez easily defeated Republican Anthony Pappas on Tuesday to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Her victory was predicted ever since the 29-year-old Hispanic candidate triumphed over 10-term incumbent Representative Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional district in a monumental upset in June.
Jennifer Wexton Unseats GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in Hotly Contested Race in Virginia
In one of the first races called of the midterm elections 2018, Democrat Jennifer Wexton beat Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock 55 percent to 45 percent. Ahead of Tuesday, experts said that in order for the Democrats to take back the House, winning this district was crucial. The representative for Virginia’s 10th district since 2015, Comstock has been largely a supporter of Trump. Wexton’s victory in the affluent Washington, D.C., suburb is a strong indicator that many parts of the country that voted in favor of Trump are shifting toward the left.
Sen. Bob Menendez Wins Re-election Amid Corruption Allegations
Despite his criminal trial for accepting bribes, which ended in a hung jury, Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez beat Bob Hugin in the race for New Jersey senator. New to politics, Hugin had a background in pharmaceuticals. The race was called shortly before 10 p.m. ET when Menendez had 52 percent of the vote.