The Historic Firsts of the 2022 Midterms

Including the first out lesbian to be elected US governor.

Julio Cortez/ Associated Press

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It’s still early and the anxiety over a likely red wave crashing down over national, state, and local races remains intact. But a handful of notable firsts regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation have already emerged. Here are a few worth highlighting:

Wes Moore 

Wes Moore, the author and non-profit executive, made history by becoming Maryland’s first Black governor, defeating state legislator Dan Cox, the far-right candidate backed by Donald Trump. Despite being a newbie in politics, Moore received endorsements from several high-profile names, including Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Moore, who will become only the third Black governor in the US, ran on a platform focusing on ending childhood poverty

Maxwell Alejandro Frost

At only 25, the minimum age to run for Congress, social justice activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost won Florida’s 10th Congressional District, making him the first Gen-Z candidate to win a seat in Congress. An organizer and advocate for gun reform, Frost ran on a platform for stricter gun laws, abortion rights, and affordable housing. According to a 2022 report from the Congressional Research Service, the average age of members of the House is 58.4 years old. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Following in dad’s footsteps, Sarah Huckabee Sanders will become the first woman to become governor of Arkansas. Donald Trump endorsed the former White House press secretary last year, calling her a candidate “strong on borders, tough on crime, and fully [supportive of] the Second Amendment and our great law enforcement officers.”

Maura Healey 

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will become the first woman governor in Massachusetts, as well as the country’s first openly lesbian governor. Healey ran on a platform that promised to expand affordable housing, better public transportation, and protect people’s reproductive freedoms. 

Becca Balint

Despite its reputation as a liberal state, Vermont was, at one point, the only state that’d never had a female congressperson. Well, that’s officially changed. State senator and former middle school teacher Becca Balint made Vermont history, becoming the first woman and openly gay person to secure the state’s only Senate seat. Balint, who ran on a platform of expanding healthcare and protecting workers’ rights, said to US News and World Report that she hopes her win will inspire LGBTQ youth and other marginalized groups to run for office.
 

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