The four first-time candidates profiled in the VICE News web series “She’s Running” found themselves on opposite paths Tuesday night.
Democrat Anna Eskamani triumphed in her race to become the first Iranian-American lawmaker in the Florida state House. The victory, she told VICE News, “inspires other candidates to not falter because a consultant tells you act one way or to cower in fear because you’re getting blasted for something.” (Eskamani had to fend off mailers that attacked her as crass.)
“We did our part to talk to voters,” Eskamani added after her win over Republican businessman and incumbent Stockton Reeves. “It was a listening tour from day one, and I look forward to continuing that type of transformational politics into Tallahassee.”
But Republican Pearl Kim lost to Mary Gay Scanlon by nearly 30 points in their race for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. Scanlon was long favored to win the district, which was recently redrawn after the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court determined that Pennsylvania’s congressional maps were heavily gerrymandered. The seat was open, as former congressman, Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan, had left office over sexual misconduct allegations.
Iowa Democrat Deidre DeJear and New York Republican Morgan Zegers also lost their elections to experienced incumbents. DeJear ran for Iowa secretary of state, a victory that would see her become the first African-American to be elected statewide in Iowa, while Zegers campaigned to become the youngest-ever member of the New York state assembly.
“We never strayed away from being ourselves,” Eskamani said. “I hope it inspires other candidates to not falter because a consultant tells you act one way or to cower in fear because you’re getting blasted for something.”
The fourth installment in the four-part “She’s Running” web series will arrive after Election Day. Watch the rest of the series here.
Milena Mikael-Debass contributed reporting.