These predictions proved well-founded. Last night, both Haaland and Davids held onto their hard-earned Congressional seats, while new names joining their ranks include Hawaiian Democrat contender Kaiali’i Kahele, who becomes only the second Native Hawaiian lawmaker to represent the state. Last night’s results also mark a notable step forward for LGBTQ+ Native Americans, with Davids continuing her tenure as the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Congress from Kansas, and the previously mentioned victory of Stephanie Byers as the first trans woman to serve within the Kansas House of Representatives.
New Mexico elects three women of color to Congress
Deb Haaland’s reelection in New Mexico not only marked an important moment for Indigenous women in Congress, but also for her state more broadly. Along with Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez, as of this morning, New Mexico will be the first state to elect women of color as their House delegation in Washington across all of their congressional districts.
Also notable is the progressive platform on which Teresa Leger Fernandez ran. Earning the endorsement of prominent political figures including Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her advocacy for a “New Mexico Green New Deal” has garnered wider attention for its focus on investment in clean energy and regenerative agriculture. It’s an important victory for the future of a state that has largely leaned Democratic for the past two decades, and also happened to be one of the first to be called in favor of Biden last night.
The reelection of “the Squad”
Given the intense scrutiny faced by the four women—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib—nicknamed “the Squad” during their two years serving in the House of Representatives, there were plenty of eyes on their races in the lead-up to this year’s election.
Despite the GOP’s best efforts to unseat as many of the four as possible by funneling money into opposing campaigns, all four secured decisive victories last night in their respective districts, with Omar taking to Twitter this morning to congratulate her peers, adding: “Our sisterhood is resilient.” The shared values of the congresswomen have seen them campaign heavily around progressive policies including radical action on climate change, Medicare for All, and an emphasis on social justice, with their victories only affirming the priorities of the next generation of Democratic voters.
Looking at the record numbers of younger and minority candidates joining their ranks in Congress this year, however, don’t be surprised if you see the Squad increasing its membership count when the House reconvenes in January.