Across the United States, women, LGBTQ and Black candidates broke barriers as part of a new generation of politicians elected to governor’s offices and seats in Congress.
A Massachusetts Democrat is the country’s first openly lesbian candidate to be elected to the office of governor. In Maryland, voters elected the state’s first Black governor. Vermont will finally send a woman to Congress, after being the only state not to ever have female representation in the House.
The number of women serving as governors will hit double digits for the first time in 2023, with at least 12 women set to lead states. Ten had already won their races; two other races had not been decided but featured women candidates in both parties.
The U.S. has never had more than nine female governors in office at a time, a record set in 2004, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. The new record numbers mean nearly one-fourth of the country’s states will be run by women. The party majority for female governors is still not clear.
One of the winners, Maura Healey, is the first woman to be elected to Massachusetts’ top post and also makes history by becoming the country’s first openly lesbian candidate to be elected governor. If Democrat Tina Kotek wins Oregon’s gubernatorial race, she may join Healey in making history as a lesbian candidate elected governor.
On another hand, Vermont has already had a female governor but it is the only state that has never sent a woman to Congress. Democrat Becca Balint, president of the Vermont Senate, will reach that milestone and also become the first openly gay person to fill the state’s single seat in the U.S. House.