Women play pivotal role in delivering House to Dems

Women play pivotal role in delivering House to Dems
© Getty/Rashida Tlaib for Congress/YouTube

Women played a critical role in delivering Democrats the House majority on Tuesday night, with female candidates making historic gains in Congress in what has been dubbed another “Year of the Woman.”

The 2018 midterm election cycle saw a surge of women running for Congress, particularly on the Democratic side, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE’s election and the coordinated Women’s March the day after his inauguration.

More than 100 women — nominees and incumbents from both parties — were projected to win on Tuesday, with 95 in the House and 12 in the Senate. There are another 10 female senators who weren’t up for reelection this cycle.

Of the 28 seats that Democrats have currently flipped, female nominees won in 18 of those races, though a number of top House seats where women are running have yet to be called. Many of these races were toss-up seats where female candidates were seeking to flip coveted suburban districts, where moderate and college-educated women have emerged as a crucial voting bloc.

“Women are the story of this election,” said Women’s National Democratic Club president Nuchhi Currier, who spoke to supporters at an election party in northwest Washington, D.C., as the networks projected that Democrats would take the House.


“What’s happened in this country is that women have found their voice and will find their feet,” she added. “The important thing was for women to lose that sense of ‘how can I, I can’t, I’m not qualified.’”

A handful of women are set to make history in other ways following Tuesday's elections.

Democratic candidates Sharice Davids in Kansas and Debra Haaland in New Mexico are the first two Native-American women to be elected to Congress.

Democrats Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Notably, Tlaib is replacing former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses Hispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Today On Rising: The media beclowns themselves on Baghdadi MORE (D-Mich.), who resigned late last year in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

And Democrats Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are set to become the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas, a state with a growing Hispanic population that has slowly shifted politically with demographic changes.

Meanwhile, Republicans are poised to see their ranks of female lawmakers dwindle based on a number of congresswomen retiring or seeking higher office. GOP Reps. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (Va.) and Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) lost their races Tuesday, while Rep. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveFormer GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets have to stop Congressional Women's Softball team releases roster The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R-Utah) was narrowly trailing her Democratic opponent.

Republicans got at least one gain Tuesday night, with Republican state Del. Carol Miller holding onto the open-seat in West Virginia’s 3rd District.

It's also possible that Republican Young Kim, who would be the first Korean American woman elected to Congress, could score a victory in the seat being vacated by Rep. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp House panel advances bill to protect elections from foreign interference MORE (R-Calif.).

With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Kim led Democrat Gil Cisneros by 6 points in a top swing seat.

In 1992 – the last so-called “Year of the Woman” – a record 47 women were elected to the House, while the Senate gained four new female members, including Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.), who won reelection handily on Tuesday night.

The influx of women candidates in 1992 was driven in no small part by Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee the previous year, when she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

Dramatic testimony during Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Supreme Court denies Trump request to immediately resume federal executions House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law MORE’s controversial confirmation this fall, which was nearly derailed by sexual assault allegations that he vehemently denied, drew many comparisons to the Hill hearings from the early 1990s. Kavanaugh’s narrow confirmation sparked massive protests that were largely made up of women.

The allegations brought renewed attention to the "Me Too" movement, which gained prominence in 2017. The movement prompted a number of women to speak out about their experiences with sexual misconduct and forced the resignation of multiple lawmakers. The movement also drove a number of women to seek office in 2018.

Also driving the surge in female Democratic candidates this year was the party’s intense focus on health care, particularly in the face of Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and efforts by GOP-controlled state legislatures to severely curtail abortion access.

“This wave would have been impossible without a strong and diverse class of U.S. House candidates — the powerful, pro-choice Democratic women who fought tirelessly to win their elections tonight,” Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, said in a statement.

“History has been made and we're never going back."

Here is a running list of female nominees who won in seats that Democrats flipped:

– Niv Elis contributed