Trump’s elec­tion fu­eled a midterms fe­male wave

Nine will be gov­er­nors in record class of women

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Ni­cole Gau­di­ano

WASH­ING­TON – First they marched. Then they ran. Now they’ve won.

The mas­sive move­ment that be­gan with re­sis­tance to Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency has helped drive his­toric gains for fe­male can­di­dates this elec­tion cy­cle, ush­er­ing more fe­male law­mak­ers into the next ses­sion of Congress than ever be­fore.

As of Wed­nes­day, women had sur­passed the cur­rent record of 107 vot­ing mem­bers of the House and Se­nate, ac­cord­ing to a USA TO­DAY anal­y­sis of elec­tion re­sults. The new to­tal – 118 and count­ing – in­cludes 31 first-time House mem­bers, seven more than the record set for fresh­men women dur­ing the 1992 “Year of the Woman” elec­tion. It also in-

cludes sit­ting fe­male se­na­tors who were not up for re-elec­tion.

The House will also have the largest num­ber of fresh­men women of color next Congress, with at least 11 new mem­bers elected, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Women and Pol­i­tics at Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity.

The surge was driven largely by Democrats, who took over con­trol of the House. Eighty-four of the 96 women elected to the House are Democrats, in­clud­ing 30 of the 31 new­com­ers.

Their his­toric in­volve­ment fol­lows the mas­sive Women’s March to re­sist Trump’s pres­i­dency and the #MeToo move­ments’ protest against sex­ual mis­con­duct in the work­place.

Twelve women – in­clud­ing two fresh­men – have been elected to the Se­nate so far, and there will be one more when the U.S. Se­nate race be­tween two women can­di­dates is set­tled in Ari­zona. Ten of the women se­na­tors are Democrats.

Nine women (six Democrats and three Repub­li­cans) were elected in gov­er­nors races, match­ing a record set in 2004, and that num­ber could rise.

Women from both par­ties ran in greater num­bers this cy­cle, but the num­ber of Demo­cratic fe­male can­di­dates still out­paced Repub­li­cans at ev­ery level, from state leg­is­la­tures to gov­er­nor’s races to Congress.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., told re­porters on Wed­nes­day that the is­sue has “been a frus­tra­tion” and that Repub­li­cans need to do a bet­ter job at re­cruit­ing and sup­port­ing women can­di­dates.

While the Women’s March drew mil­lions of pro­test­ers at events na­tion­wide on the first full day of Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, tens of thou­sands of women reached out to just one or­ga­ni­za­tion – Emily’s List – to ex­press in­ter­est in run­ning for office since Elec­tion Day 2016. The or­ga­ni­za­tion, which helps elect prochoice Demo­cratic women, trained a record 5,000 women to run this cy­cle, alone.

Other women bucked the party es­tab­lish­ment – and showed they can win any­way. Among them are Bos­ton City Coun­cilor Ayanna Press­ley, a Demo­crat who is the first black woman elected to Congress from Mas­sachusetts, and New York Demo­cratic ac­tivist Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, who at 29 be­came the youngest woman elected to Congress.

Oca­sio-Cortez scored the pri­mary sea­son’s big­gest up­set with the de­feat of Rep. Joe Crow­ley, the fourth-rank­ing House Demo­crat.

“We didn’t launch this cam­paign be­cause I thought I was spe­cial or unique or bet­ter than any­one else,” Oca­sio-Cortez said af­ter win­ning on Tues­day night. “We launched this cam­paign be­cause in the ab­sence of any­one giv­ing a clear voice on the moral is­sues of our time, then it is up to us to voice them.”


Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez speaks to sup­port­ers dur­ing her elec­tion night party in Queens.


Demo­crat Ayanna Press­ley will be the first African-Amer­i­can woman to rep­re­sent Mas­sachusetts.

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