2012 election was chock-full of firsts

November 8, 2012

We saw lots of firsts in the 2012 election, with most of them having to do with the religion, sexual orientation and gender of winning candidates.

Below are the ones we have cobbled together. What did we miss? The comments section awaits. (And we will include the best ones in future updates.)

First president since Great Depression to be reelected with unemployment rate above 7.2 percent: Barack Obama

First openly gay person elected to the Senate: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

First Buddhist elected to the Senate: Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)

First Asian-American woman elected to the Senate: Hirono

First Japanese-born person elected to the Senate: Hirono

First Hindu elected to Congress: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

First openly bisexual person elected to Congress: Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

(Correction: Sinema leads by 1.6 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting, but some ballots are still being counted, and the race has not officially been called.)


Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). (AP photo)

Most women in the Senate: 20

First major-party caucus that isn't a majority of white men: House Democrats (expected to include 60 women, 43 African-Americans, 27 Latinos and 10 Asian-Americans)

Highest number of members of the LGBT community elected to Congress: 7. They are: Baldwin, Sinema, Reps.-elect Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and reelected Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).

First state to elect an all-woman House and Senate delegation and governor: New Hampshire

First state whose people voted to legalize gay marriage: Maryland and Maine (tie)

First state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana: Colorado and Washington state (tie)

First woman elected to the Senate in state history: Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren), Hawaii (Hirono), North Dakota (Heidi Heitkamp) and Wisconsin (Baldwin). And Nebraska elected its first female (Deb Fischer) to a full term.

First time there have been no all-male state legislative chambers: South Carolina state Senate elected a woman.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Sean Sullivan | November 8, 2012