Meet the newcomers in Congress, including 12 elected officials who have no government experience
The new freshman class is the youngest in recent history.
The average age is about 46 for newly elected representatives and about 50 for newly elected senators. That’s younger than each of the past seven freshman classes. And it’s much younger than Congress overall.
Eighteen new members are in their 20s or 30s.
But a majority, 59, 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 first Gen Z congressman. And Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R), a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will be the first Native American senator in nearly two decades.
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 freshman representatives this year. And Congress, on the whole, is on track to increase its diversity.
And one really weird first?
It’s not unheard of for politicians to embellish their résumés, but in the case of Republican George Santos, who is the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress, he’s fabricated key details from his background like graduating from college and working on Wall Street. He also may have exaggerated personal details about his family, including his family’s financial assets. Santos has apologized for what he called “résumé embellishment,” but still plans to take office.
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.
This wasn’t the banner year for women that the country saw four years ago.
Twenty-four women will join Congress in January — 16 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 48 new Republicans and 38 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.
Most election deniers who won congressional races were incumbents.
But 24 newly elected Republicans will now 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
Six Latino Republicans will join Congress.
Nearly three dozen Latino Republicans ran for House seats, and six won their races. Overall, a record number of Latinos will serve in the 118th Congress. But the GOP and Congress as a whole remain disproportionately White and male compared with the general U.S. population.
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, run private businesses or served in the military but have never held public office.