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Here are the candidates who made history in Tuesday’s midterms

From left: Maura Healey, Sarah Sanders, Maxwell Frost, Markwayne Mullin and Wes Moore.
5 min

Some candidates didn’t just win on Tuesday, they also broke barriers.

Those victories included the first female governors elected in Arkansas, Massachusetts and New York; the first Black person to be elected governor of Maryland; and the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress.

In some ways, this election had already made history for the diversity of candidates. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people ran for office in all 50 states for the first time, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The number of such candidates on the ballot also increased 18 percent from 2020, it said, many of them galvanized by a wave of measures in Republican-led states attacking the community.

This cycle also set records for the number of women running for governor, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. But the same was not true of the Senate and the House, where female candidates in the general election fell short of the highs reached in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

Across the country and in both parties, breakthrough victories by people of color, women and LGBTQ candidates made history in state and national races. (Video: Jackson Barton, Leila Barghouty, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

“You can’t expect a 2018 or a 2020 every election cycle,” Walsh said. But “it doesn’t mean we’re not seeing progress.”

The overturning of Roe v. Wade could also have far-reaching impacts, Walsh said. By the time the Supreme Court issued its decision in June, the ballot deadlines for November’s elections had nearly all passed. But looking ahead to 2024, Walsh said, the ruling on abortion might be “another one of those catalyzing moments that propels women to step off the sidelines.”

Here are some of the candidates who made history Tuesday:

Wes Moore

Democrat Wes Moore spoke to supporters after becoming Maryland’s first Black governor on Nov. 8. (Video: WUSA9)

Moore, 44, a Democrat and a political newcomer, will become the first Black governor in Maryland’s history. Moore will be the only Black governor in the country and the third elected since Reconstruction. The other two were Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Douglas Wilder in Virginia.

Sarah Sanders

Former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Sanders spoke to supporters after winning the race for Arkansas governor on Nov. 8. (Video: AP)

Sanders, a Republican, won her race and will become the first female governor of Arkansas. Sanders, 40, was press secretary for President Donald Trump and is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

Maura Healey

Healey, a 51-year-old Democrat who is the attorney general of Massachusetts, is the first woman to be elected governor in the state’s history. Healey and Tina Kotek of Oregon will also be the first openly lesbian governors in U.S. history.

Tina Kotek

Kotek won an unexpectedly close race to become the next governor of Oregon. She is the state’s first lesbian governor, and together with Healey, the first in the nation. Kotek, 56, is the Democratic speaker of the Oregon legislature.

Markwayne Mullin

Mullin, 45, a Republican member of Congress and a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, won election to the U.S. Senate. He will be the first Native American senator in nearly two decades and the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in a century.

Maxwell Frost

Frost, 25, is a liberal Democrat and the first member of Gen Z — which according to Pew Research Center refers to people born after 1996 — to win a seat in Congress. Frost, an activist, will represent Florida’s 10th Congressional District, a deep-blue constituency.

Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) became the state's first elected female governor on Nov. 8. (Video: The Washington Post)

Hochul, 64, was appointed governor last year and on Tuesday became the first woman elected to lead New York. She fended off a challenge from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) that had rattled Democrats in a state where they outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1.

Becca Balint

Balint, 54, a liberal Democrat, won her race to become Vermont’s lone member of the House of Representatives, the first time the state has elected a woman to Congress. Vermont is the last state to send a woman to Washington, behind Mississippi, which reached the same milestone in 2018. Balint is also the first openly gay person to represent the state.

Katie Britt

Britt, a Republican, is the first woman to be elected to the Senate from Alabama. Britt, 40, is a first-time candidate and lawyer who previously worked as the chief of staff for Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), who is retiring. Two other women have been appointed to the Senate from Alabama.

Alex Padilla

Padilla, 49, is the first Latino elected to the Senate from California. A Democrat and former California secretary of state, Padilla was appointed to the seat left vacant by Vice President Harris in 2021.

Summer Lee

Lee, 34, who has served as a Democratic state representative, is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. A former labor organizer, she won election in the state’s newly redrawn 12th Congressional District that covers much of Pittsburgh.

Delia Ramirez

Ramirez, a 39-year-old Democrat, will be the first Latina to represent Illinois in Congress. The daughter of immigrant parents from Guatemala, Ramirez won election in the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

Eric Sorensen

Sorensen, 46, is the first openly gay person elected to Congress from Illinois. A Democrat and former weatherman, Sorensen will represent the state’s 17th Congressional District.

Yadira Caraveo

A pediatrician, state legislator and the daughter of immigrants, Caraveo, a 41-year-old Democrat, is the first Latina elected to Congress from Colorado. Her Republican opponent conceded late Tuesday but the Associated Press has not yet made a call in the race.

The 2022 Midterm Elections

Georgia runoff election: Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) won re-election in the Georgia Senate runoff, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker and giving Democrats a 51st seat in the Senate for the 118th Congress. Get live updates here and runoff results by county.

Divided government: Republicans narrowly won back control of the House, while Democrats will keep control of the Senate, creating a split Congress.

What the results mean for 2024: A Republican Party red wave seems to be a ripple after Republicans fell short in the Senate and narrowly won control in the House. Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign shortly after the midterms. Here are the top 10 2024 presidential candidates for the Republicans and Democrats.