Updated Nov 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Women score multiple firsts in historic midterm races

Photo of Katie Britt speaking from a podium at a rally

Katie Britt, the Republican Senate candidate for Alabama, speaks during an election night watch event in Montgomery, Alabama on May 24. Photo: Andi Rice/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple states elected women to state-level and federal posts for the first time ever on Tuesday night.

Driving the news: Trump-backed Katie Britt (R) became the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama, while voters in Massachusetts and Arkansas sent women to the governor's office in historic firsts.

  • Maura Healey (D) became the first woman elected Massachusetts governor, while Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) will be Arkansas' first woman governor.
  • Healey and Oregon's Tina Kotek (D) will will share title of the nation's first out lesbian governor.
  • Vermont is no longer the last state holding out on sending a woman to Congress after voters decisively elected House candidate Becca Balint (D), who will also be the first out gay person to represent the state.
  • Summer Lee (D) became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania.
  • The Navajo Nation, the second-largest tribal nation in the U.S., elected its first-ever woman vice president — Richelle Montoya, who ran on a ticket with Buu Nygren in the nonpartisan race.

Other historic firsts include:

  • Anna Paulina Luna (R), a U.S. Air Force veteran who will become Florida's first Mexican American woman in Congress.
  • Aruna Miller (D), the first immigrant and first Asian American elected to statewide office in Maryland.
  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who will be the state's first elected woman governor after initially assuming office to replace former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Two states also elected women to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor posts:

  • Healey and her running mate Kim Driscoll.
  • Sanders and Leslie Rutledge (R), who is also the first woman elected to serve as lieutenant governor in Arkansas.

The big picture: Women currently hold 24% of Senate seats and 28% of House seats, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

  • Only nine have ever served as governor — and all but one were white.
  • Representation has steadily increased since the first women were elected to office in 1971 but still lags behind gender parity by far.

Editor's note: This article was updated with additional details.

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