Factbox: Women shatter many barriers in Congress, states in U.S. elections

(Reuters) – From New Mexico’s Debra Haaland, who became one of the first two indigenous women elected to the U.S. Congress to New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 became the youngest woman elected to the chamber, American political candidate notched several precedents in this week’s elections.

The following are details on some of the firsts marked during the 2018 midterm elections:

First Native American woman in Congress: Two Native American women elected will become the first indigenous people seated in Congress – Sharice Davids in Kansas and Haaland in New Mexico.

Youngest woman elected to Congress: After defeating a long-time incumbent in a Democratic primary, Ocasio-Cortez, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. The title was previously held by Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican who was first elected at the age of 30 in 2014. William Charles Cole Claiborne was the youngest member elected to the House at age 22 in 1797. He was seated despite not meeting the constitutional age requirement of 25 years.

First female Muslim members of Congress: There are two women who won seats to become the first female Muslim members of Congress – Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota. Omar will also be the first member of Congress to wear a hijab or head scarf, which she does as a Muslim. She is also the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress.

State’s first female governor: Two women became the first in their respective states to be elected governor. Democrat Janet Mills won the Maine gubernatorial race and Republican Kristi Noem secured victory to be next governor in South Dakota.

First consecutive female state governors: New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, will replace outgoing Republican Governor Susana Martinez, becoming the first time a state has elected two women in a row to the governor’s office.

First gay male governor: Colorado’s Jared Polis already notched a first when he was elected to the U.S. House as the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to Congress. With a win in Colorado, he will now become the country’s first openly gay man to win a gubernatorial election.

First Korean-American woman elected to Congress: Republican Young Kim of California won a close race that secures her place as the first Korean-American woman elected as U.S. representative.

First black woman from New England in Congress: Democrats Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts will share the precedent as the first black women elected to the U.S. Congress from New England.

First Hispanic woman to Congress from Texas: There are two women in Texas whose victories will make them the first Hispanic women from the Lone Star state to go to Congress. Democrats Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia both secured election victories.

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