Women had already made history leading up to Tuesday’s critical midterms, with a surge of female candidates filing to run for office in unprecedented numbers. Now that election results are in, it’s clear that women aren’t done breaking barriers: A record number of 118 women will head to Congress this January.
As of Wednesday morning, data from the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics showed that voters had sent at least 95 women to the House, up from a previous record of 85 in 2016. In the Senate, 13 women secured seats and joined 10 incumbent female senators for a total of 22. That means the total number of women heading to our next Congress is a historic 118, smashing a past record of 107.
The cohort of incoming congresswomen includes elects who have made history as individuals. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez swept the votes in New York’s 14th congressional district and became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 29. Massachusetts and Connecticut elected their first African American congresswomen, and Arizona and Tennessee voted in their first female senators. In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman elected to Congress.
Meanwhile, nine women were elected as governors, and in Georgia, a tight race is still playing out to see if Stacey Abrams will beat out Republican candidate Brian Kemp to become the first female African American governor in the country.
Results are still being tallied, but they’ve shown that what’s been heralded as The Year Of The Woman is seeing significant payoffs.