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Divisive Trump era ushers record number of women into US Congress

07 November 2018

- Political newcomer and self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated her Republican challenger, Anthony Pappas, on Tuesday, becoming the youngest woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

The mid-term elections brought a surge of female candidates to ballots across America in a vote being seen as a referendum on the Trump presidency.

Most recent Congressional elections have sent a record number of women to the House, but the gain has never been anywhere near the margin we can expect Wednesday morning. Women hold 84 out of 435 House seats, a record number.

Sharice Davids was projected to win a district in Kansas for the Democrats, which would make her one of the first Native American women elected to Congress.

Rashida Tlaib, a social worker born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents, won a House seat in a district where she ran unopposed by a Republican candidate.

"This is the year of the woman, and the fact that women were willing to put themselves on the line is important, whether they've been Republicans or Democrats", said Shalala, a first-time candidate for elected office.

The vote comes almost two years after women marched on Washington in defiance of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton was advised to play down her gender during her first run for president in 2008 because voters would not elect a "first mama".

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Both men and women say the economy is their top issue, and Trump often touts an improved economy as one of his successes.

She unseated four-term Republican Kevin Roder, a strong Trump ally.

"Powered by a massive turnout of women and fuelled by our incredible candidates, House Democrats gained several seats in the heartland", Democratic representative Cheri Bustos of IL said in a statement Tuesday night after House control was called for Democrats.

Democrats held an 8-point lead with women and a 2-point lead among men. The 2016 election of Republican President Donald Trump despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct have energized Democratic women in particular to seek office and vote.

And several of the female candidates broke records of their own. Ocasio-Cortez celebrated her victory in Queens last night.

Democrat Mike Espy, who will face Mississippi Republican Rep. Cindy Hyde-Smith in a December runoff, could become the state's first black senator since Reconstruction.

Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan also lost her race to become the country's first Native American governor. Twenty-two states have never elected a woman as governor, and six states have female governors today. In successfully overtaking the incumbent in the state's 3rd Congressional District, Davids also becomes Kansas's first openly LGBT candidate to win a major office.

In the House, 71 incumbent women were running for re-election, 46 were running for open seats and 120 were challenging sitting House members, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Divisive Trump era ushers record number of women into US Congress