Meet the newcomers in Congress, including 12 elected officials who have no government experience

 

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Age

The new freshman class is the youngest in recent history.

The average age is about 46 for newly elected representatives and just shy of 50 for newly elected senators, though this could change slightly as several races remain uncalled. That’s younger than each of the past seven freshman classes. And it’s much younger than Congress overall.

Seventeen new members are in their 20s or 30s.

But a majority, 57, are in their 40s or 50s.

And nine are 60 or older.

Some historic firsts

The new class is making history in other ways, too.

Some freshmen-elect broke barriers with their wins. Among them: Democrat Becca Balint will be the first congresswoman and openly gay person to represent Vermont, the last state to have never elected a woman to Congress. Democrat Maxwell Frost will be the legislature’s first Gen Z member. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R), a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will be the first Native American senator in nearly two decades. And George Santos became the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

More historic firsts

Oregon will get its first Latina representatives.

Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer and Democrat Andrea Salinas will join Congress in January. They are among a record number of Latina freshmen representatives this year. And Congress, on the whole, is on track to increase its diversity.

There were other historic firsts for states.

Some of the other historic winners include Democrat Yadira Caraveo, the first Latina elected to Congress from Colorado; Democrat Summer Lee, the first Black congresswoman elected from Pennsylvania; Democrat Delia Ramirez, the first Latina congresswoman elected from Illinois; and Democrat Shri Thanedar, who will be Michigan’s first Indian American in Congress.

Women

This wasn’t the banner year for women that the country saw four years ago.

At least 23 women will join Congress in January — 15 Democrats and eight Republicans. That’s down from 2018, when voters sent more than three dozen newly elected women to the Capitol. But the new Congress will include a record number of Black women — 27, up from the previous record of 26.

Republicans and Democrats

The incoming class includes at least 46 new Republicans and 37 new Democrats.

Republicans netted more seats than Democrats, flipping four in New York and performing well in Arizona, Iowa and California. But Democrats held tight elsewhere, and a “red wave” didn’t materialize.

Election deniers

Most election deniers who won congressional races were incumbents.

But at least 24 newly elected Republicans will soon join them.

Three were linked to the rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Max Miller of Ohio helped plan President Donald Trump’s rally at the Ellipse, according to the House select committee investigating the attack. George Santos of New York described enjoying the “front-row spectacle” of the rally crowd. And Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin was pictured near the Capitol grounds.

At least six supported formal challenges to the election results.

These incoming members expressed support for a partisan post-election ballot review, signed on to a lawsuit challenging the results, or opposed counting President Biden’s electoral college votes.

The others have questioned or rejected Biden’s 2020 presidential win.

New Black GOP members

Two Black Republicans will join the House.

Victories by Wesley Hunt in Texas and John James in Michigan bring the total number of Black Republican lawmakers in Congress to five, the most since 1877.

New Latino GOP members

At least six Latino Republicans will join Congress.

Nearly three dozen Latino Republicans ran for House seats, and six have won their races so far. The outcomes of a few uncalled contests in California could push the number of Latinos and Hispanics on the Republican side — and in Congress overall — to new highs. But the GOP and Congress as a whole remain disproportionately White and male compared with the general U.S. population.

Government newcomers

At least 12 freshmen-elect have no government experience.

Being an outsider was a strong selling point for some candidates who won. On the Democratic side, Eric Sorensen is a former longtime television meteorologist. On the Republican side, Rich McCormick is a former emergency room doctor. Others have worked for political campaigns or advocacy groups — and many freshmen-elect have served in the military — but have never held public office.

New members?

And then there’s Georgia and some slow-counting districts.

Democrats held on to the Senate, and Republicans gained narrow control of the House. But each party could add a few more members to their ranks.

In Georgia, Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock led Republican Herschel Walker but fell short of the 50 percent of the vote needed to secure his seat. The candidates face off again Dec. 6.

Ballots are still being counted in a handful of other contests, including the unexpectedly close race between far-right provocateur Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch in Colorado’s 3rd District. That race is too close to call and is now headed for a recount. It could be decided by just a few hundred votes.

About this story

The analysis in this story is based on the available data about the new freshman congressional class at the time of publication. Several close House races and one Senate race remained uncalled.

Five freshmen-elect were already serving in Congress. We included three of them as new members because they won special elections in the past year and this was the first general election they won for their seats. Reps. Mike Carey (Ohio) and Brad Finstad (Minn.) were elected in special elections in November 2021 and August 2022, respectively, and reelected to full terms in November. Rep. Pat Ryan (N.Y.) was elected in an August special election and was elected in November to a redrawn district. The other two, Reps. Ted Budd (N.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), are House members who will now join the Senate. A sixth freshman-elect, Ryan Zinke, served in Montana’s at-large House seat from 2015 to 2017 and won election this year to the state’s newly created 1st Congressional District.

Design editing by Madison Walls and Junne Alcantara. Editing by Sarah Frostenson and Kainaz Amaria. Fact-checking by Justine McDaniel and Andrea Salcedo. Photo editing by Agnes Lee. Photo research by Jakob Bowen, Travis Chase, Claire Healy and Lucas Trevor.

correction

A previous version of this article did not include Rep. Pat Ryan of New York as a new member of Congress. This version has been corrected to include Ryan.