More than 100 women were elected to United States legislative office in mid-term elections Tuesday. A record number will serve in the new Congress.
The results came almost two years after women marched in Washington and cities across the country to oppose the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The Associated Press reported that a record 237 women ran for the House of Representatives this year. As of Wednesday, at least 100 won their House races, easily beating the old record of 84.
The number of female winners is expected to grow, as results had not been called for more than ten races with women candidates.
Most of the women who won were Democrats who helped the party capture a majority in the House.
Christopher Borick is director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. He says the role women played in this election lived up to expectations.
Borick said, "We are seeing a vast increase in the percentage of women that will be within the House of Representatives. I'll give you an example in Pennsylvania, which is kind of, one of the most striking scenes. Before this election we had zero, not one member of an 18-seat congressional delegation that was a woman. Tonight, just in suburban Philadelphia, in the Lehigh Valley where I'm speaking from, four women won in a really tight area."
Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan became the first two Muslim women to win election to Congress. Other winners Tuesday included Sharice Davids from Kansas, one of the first two Native American woman elected to Congress, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Texas is set to send its first Hispanic women to Congress, as Democrats Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia both won their races.
Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts. She talked about the historic nature of the election.
Pressley said, “Now, listen, I know for a fact none of us ran to make history, we ran to make change. However, the historical significance of this evening is not lost on me.”
There was also an historic gender gap that showed women more supportive of Democrats than Republicans.
VoteCast reported that more women voted for Democratic candidates than men. About 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat in the race, compared with 4 in 10 for the Republican candidate. Men were more evenly divided in their vote.
Another record in the Senate
Women also reached a record number in the United States Senate. The Associated Press reported 24 women were set to serve in the Senate starting in January, one more than before.
The decisive record-breaker came from the Republican Party. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn defeated the state’s former Governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen. Blackburn will become the first woman to represent Tennessee in the Senate.
Blackburn said in her victory speech, “Now you don’t have to worry if you are going to call me congressman or congresswoman or congress lady. Now, senator will do.”
Several women Democrats captured governorships currently held by Republicans, including Laura Kelly in Kansas and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reports from VOA News and the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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