Democratic women make big gains in House as GOP women lose ground in historic election

Melina Mara | The Washington Post | Getty Images

On the U.S. Capitol east front plaza 116th Congressional freshman women Representatives like Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) hug after the Member-Elect class photo on the Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday November 14, 2018.

More women than ever were elected to Congress this month, but their gains were driven almost entirely by Democrats as Republican women lost seats in the House of Representatives.

At least 102 women will serve in the House starting next year, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, making up 23 percent of all members. Democrats elected 89 of them, the highest number ever and a 44 percent increase from the current number of 62 Democrat women.

Republicans elected just 13 women representatives during the midterms, losing almost half of the 23 seats the party’s women currently hold in the House.

As a result, there will be an equal number of Republican women representatives in the 116thCongress next year as there were in the 101st Congress, which took office in 1989.

While 36 Democrat women newcomers were elected to the House, just one non-incumbent Republican woman won her election: Carol Miller of West Virginia’s 3rdDistrict, who has served in the state House of Delegates since 2007.

Additionally, a record 43 women of color were elected during the midterms, but only one was a Republican. Jaime Herrera Beutler, whose father is of Mexican descent, was re-elected in Washington’s 3rdDistrict where she has served since 2011. Beutler will be the only Republican woman of color across both houses of Congress.

Two House races with women candidates are still too close to call. The race in Georgia’s 7thDistrict between Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux and incumbent Rob Woodall moved to a recount after Woodall’s lead shrunk to just over 400 votes. In New York’s 22ndDistrict, Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney is facing a challenge from Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

In Utah’s 4th District, Democrat Ben McAdams declared victory against Republican incumbent Mia Love on Tuesday night. The latest returns showed him with a fewer than 700-vote lead over Love, only about 20 votes away from the margin where she could request a recount, according to NBC News. Love has not yet conceded.

Republican women also lost ground in governors’ races. Six Democrat and three Republican women were elected governor, compared to the four Republican and two Democrat women currently serving.

The party distribution of women in the Senate remained the same — though some of the faces have changed — with 17 Democrats and six Republicans set to take office next year.

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