In a record-breaking year for female candidates, many winners around the country also became the first person of their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation to be elected to their positions in their states — or in some cases, the country.
Female candidates in particular were viewed not only as a referendum on President Trump, but also, in many cases, on his version of identity politics. Republican women like Kristi L. Noem and Marsha Blackburn, meanwhile, made history but were reluctant to mention gender on the campaign trail.
Below, meet the women who made history Tuesday night.
Ayanna Pressley: Massachusetts’ first black woman in Congress
Pressley’s seat in Congress was all but assured after she upset longtime Democratic incumbent Michael E. Capuano in Massachusetts’ 7th District. She won the general election after running unopposed.
Jahana Hayes: Connecticut’s first black woman in Congress
Hayes, a teacher, becomes the first black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. She beat her opponent, Manny Santos, by 11 points.
Marsha Blackburn: First woman elected to the Senate from Tennessee
Blackburn, a Republican member of Congress who aligned herself closely with Trump and his policies during this race, defeated popular former governor Phil Bredesen (D) in a tight race by 10 points. She will take over the seat held by Sen. Bob Corker, a frequent Trump critic.
Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids: America’s first Native American women in Congress
Haaland has a long history in New Mexico state politics and working with native tribes. She was able to defeat her opponent, Janice Arnold Jones, by 22 percentage points. Davids, a lawyer who will also be Kansas’ first openly gay member of Congress, defeated incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder by nine points in a state that was handily won by Trump in 2016.
Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia: Texas’ first Latinas in Congress
Escobar, an El Paso County judge, and Garcia, a state senator and former Harris County commissioner, make history in a state that is nearly 40 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to census data.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar: America’s first Muslim women in Congress
Tlaib ran unopposed in the general election, all but guaranteeing the former Michigan state legislator a seat in Congress. Omar is already a barrier breaker — in 2016, she became the first Somali American legislator in the country. She will now hold that distinction in Congress.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: America’s youngest woman ever elected to Congress
At age 29, Ocasio-Cortez of New York seizes the record from Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was elected at age 30 in 2014. She became a progressive star after her upset primary victory over Rep. Joseph Crowley, a high-ranking House Democrat.
Kristi L. Noem: First female governor of South Dakota
During the campaign, the Republican acknowledged the historic potential of her candidacy, but preferred to focus on issues rather than gender. The current congresswoman beat her opponent, Billie Sutton, by four points.
Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer: Iowa’s first women in the U.S. House
Iowa has sent women to the Senate and governor’s mansions, but never to the House of Representatives. That changed Tuesday, when two women defeated Republican incumbents.
Janet Mills: First female governor of Maine
Mills, the state’s attorney general, has won the governorship, checking another state off a long list that has never had a female chief executive.