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9 ways last night's election was historic

by Gabrielle Bluestone
Nov 8 2017, 11:52am

After Tuesday’s votes were counted, one thing was clear: The face of politics is changing.

Voters delivered firsts for women, minorities, and LGBTQ people in a bevy of state and local contests, including those in Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Washington. Let’s look at some things that changed Tuesday night.

Virginia elected the nation’s first openly transgender state legislator

Danica Roem handily defeated Bob Marshall, a long-term, proudly anti-LGBTQ incumbent who introduced a bathroom bill, once referred to himself as the state’s “chief homophobe,” and refused to debate Roem or refer to her with female pronouns. (Asked about Marshall after her victory, Roem said only, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”)

Virginia elected minorities to statewide office and the legislature

On the executive side, Justin Fairfax, a 38-year-old former federal prosecutor, was voted in as Virginia’s new lieutenant governor and became the second African-American to win a statewide position — and the first in the more than 30 years since L. Douglas Wilder first won the same seat.

Also making history in Virginia were Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman, who both defeated incumbents to become the first two Hispanic woman elected to the General Assembly, and Kathy Tran, who will be the first Asian-American woman to serve in the House of Delegates.

READ: Democrat Ralph Northam wins Virginia’s governor race

Minnesota delivered firsts for trans people and African-Americans

Democrat Andrea Jenkins won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council and will be the first openly transgender black woman to serve in elected office. Voters in St. Paul elected Melvin Carter, who will serve as the city’s first black mayor.

New Jersey elected a Sikh mayor

After he was targeted with racist flyers during the campaign, sitting councilman Ravi Bhalla will become the first Sikh to serve as mayor of Hoboken.

Charlotte elected its first female African-American mayor

In North Carolina, Democrat Vi Lyles was elected as Charlotte’s first black woman mayor.

Manchester, New Hampshire, elected its first female mayor

Voters in New Hampshire’s largest city elected their first female mayor, Joyce Craig, who also became the first Democrat to win the post in more than a decade.

So did Framingham, Massachusetts

In Framingham, the city’s first mayor ever — Yvonne Spicer — will also be its first female mayor.

Seattle got its first lesbian mayor

Jenny Durkan will serve as Seattle’s first lesbian mayor, and Zachary DeWolf will be the first openly gay man elected to the city’s school board.

Maine expanded Medicaid by ballot

Voters in the Pine Tree State overwhelmingly opted to expand Medicaid — the first time such an initiative has ever been decided by ballot.

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