The current Congress has 107 women. That was the all-time high, until Tuesday night.
Several races with female candidates have yet to be called because the margins are so narrow that the outcome may hinge on late or absentee ballots yet to be counted.
In the Mississippi Senate race, incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) is headed to a runoff with Democrat Mike Espy later this month. The governor’s race in Georgia and a few California House races remain undecided. The latter includes the race between Democrat Katie Porter and Republican incumbent Mimi Walters, and Republican Young Kim’s battle with Democrat Gil Cisneros, both playing out in Southern California.
In Texas, Republican incumbent Will Hurd, who represents much of the border, appeared to have prevailed over challenger Gina Ortiz Jones, but the Associated Press reversed the call in the early hours of the morning. Hurd now leads Jones by over a thousand votes.
Rep. Mia Love, who made history as the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, has slipped behind Democratic challenger Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th District.
0 first-time candidates have been elected. Several political novices already had disrupted the political order by beating long-term incumbents in House primaries, but the majority were not successful in the general election.
0 Republican women have been elected so far. Of the 277 female candidates, the vast majority were Democrats. Of the 107 women in Congress now, only 29 are Republicans; this year more than ever, they faced a complicated landscape.
Too close to call, across a divided America
Stacey Abrams trails in her bid to become the first African American female governor
Stacey Abrams (D)
Brian Kemp (R)
Abrams has refused to concede in a bitterly fought race that illustrates as well as any the national tension between diverse urban and suburban voters and white conservatives. Kemp holds a narrow lead and insists he won. An unknown number of absentee ballots remain to be counted. Under Georgia law, if no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, the race heads to a runoff on Dec. 4.
Abrams, minority leader of Georgia’s House for the past six years, ran a boldly progressive campaign in a once-bedrock Republican state that is now 40 percent minority. She faced Secretary of State Kemp, an unabashed proponent of Trumpism who has been accused of using his office to suppress votes and purge rolls improperly.
Kim, an immigrant, could become the first Korean American woman in Congress
Young Kim (R)
Gil Cisneros (D)
This was one of the wilder races, for an open seat in a minority-white, affluent California district. Kim, a former member of the state assembly, was on the staff of retiring Rep. Edward R. Royce (R) for decades and maintains a slight lead over her Democratic opponent. She supports student loan forgiveness, lower taxes and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Cisneros also supports DACA, and sanctuary cities. He’s Hispanic, a Navy veteran and won $266 million in 2010 in the Mega Millions lottery. (He took the annuity.) This was a top target for Democrats.
An upset, two historic firsts and a defeat
Revolution alert, again
Abigail Spanberger (D)
Dave Brat (R)*
Spanberger is a first-time candidate and a former federal law enforcement agent and CIA operative spurred to run as part of a broad women’s resistance to Trump. She campaigned on local issues to defeat Brat and becomes the first woman — and the first Democrat in nearly 50 years — to represent the Virginia district that includes part of the capital of Richmond as well as suburbs and farmlands.
Brat is a marquee name from the tea party revolt who unseated powerful House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary. A member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, Brat has a PhD in economics and a divinity degree.
Arizona gets a female senator for the first time
Martha McSally (R)
Krysten Sinema (D)
Two uncategorizable women from two closely divided districts vied to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake — and make history as Arizona’s first female Senator. Sinema ultimately prevailed in a race that remained close for days after the election. In the House since 2012, she rose to deputy whip and has moved closer to the center after beginning her career in the Green Party. Raised a Mormon, she grew up poor, got multiple degrees including at Harvard and worked as a social worker. She is openly bisexual.
Her opponent Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, was the first woman to fly in combat and won a bitter House race in 2014. She’s made border security, including surveillance technology, a priority. She condemned Donald Trump as “disgusting” during his 2016 run but touted working with him during the campaign.
South Dakota gets a groundbreaking governor
Kristi Noem (R)
Billie Sutton (D)
Noem served in the state House and was elected to Congress in 2011. She left college to return home and run her family’s ranch when her father was killed in a farming accident. She has become the state’s first female governor.
Sutton, a leading rodeo rider until a horse left him paralyzed from the waist down, is a pro-gun, antiabortion Democrat in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide in decades. He made the race close by taking advantage of Republican divisions and appealing to ranchers and farmers, but finished about 5 points behind Noem.
Claire McCaskill lost the toughest fight of any incumbent
Claire McCaskill (D)*
Josh Hawley (R)
McCaskill has won 22 races since her opponent was born, but that talent was not enough for her to overcome Trump’s popularity in the state, which he won by nearly 19 points. Her votes against both Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court hurt her with conservatives. A former prosecutor and Missouri auditor, she’s investigated military contractors for fraud and is ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Hawley, a Yale School School graduate who clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, is a newcomer to politics and closely aligned with Trump. He became the state’s attorney general in 2017 and has joined a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.