Even if the Republican gains in Congress fall within the historical norms for the out-of-power party in a midterm election, history was made in a number of races on Tuesday.
As soon as the polls closed in Maryland and Massachusetts, both state’s gubernatorial races were called for groundbreaking candidates. In Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore will become the first Black governor in the state’s history, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, also a Democrat, is the first woman elected governor in the Bay State. She also will be the first openly gay woman to serve as governor of any state. (Massachusetts previously had a female acting governor, Jane Swift, who finished former Gov. Paul Cellucci’s first full term after Cellucci, a Republican, resigned to serve as ambassador to Canada under then-President George W. Bush.)
Salem, Mass., Mayor Kim Driscoll will serve as Healey’s lieutenant governor, making them the first women to serve as governor and lieutenant governor of the same state. Massachusetts also elected Democrat Andrea Campbell to be its first Black woman to serve as state attorney general.
In Vermont, Democrat Becca Balint defeated Republican Liam Madden in the state’s at-large congressional race and will become the first gay member of Vermont’s congressional delegation.
In Arkansas, the Republican nominee for governor, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was declared the winner by the Associated Press, making her the first woman to be elected governor of that state. Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The Senate race in Alabama has been called for Republican Katie Britt, who won the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. Britt — who had once served Shelby as his chief of staff — is the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama. (Two women previously represented Alabama in the Senate, but both were appointed to fill vacancies and never won election.)
In an otherwise rough night for Florida Democrats, Maxwell Frost, a 25-year-old gun control activist, won the race to succeed Rep. Val Demings in a congressional district that includes Orlando. Frost, the first Generation Z member of Congress, has said that he plans to focus on other issues of importance besides gun control, such as climate change and affordable housing.
In New Hampshire, Democrat James Roesener became the first transgender man elected to a state legislature in U.S. history.
And in Pennsylvania's 12th District, Democratic congressional nominee Summer Lee is expected to become the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. Her Republican opponent Mike Doyle has conceded the race and Lee has declared victory, as she is ahead by roughly 17 percentage points with three-quarters of the votes counted in the heavily Democratic district.