A second congressional run proved to be the charm for Mia Love, former mayor of Sarasota Springs, Utah. She is the first Black Republican woman and first Haitian-American to be elected to the United States Congress. Love, who also is a Mormon, will replace retiring Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson and round out what will now be the state's entirely Republican congressional delegation.
"Let this be a lesson to the nation that we’re not interested in dividing Americans based on gender, race, social status," Love said in her victory speech. "We are more interested in the integrity and honesty of a candidate, someone who is going to return power back to the people and away from Washington.”
She won't be the only Black member on her side of the ideological aisle. Will Hurd, a cybersecurity expert and former undercover officer for the CIA, defeated incumbent Texas Rep. Pete Gallego. It was also his second congressional bid.
If more of the Black Republicans running for Congress this year had succeeded Tuesday night, they would have had enough members to form their own caucus. Their first chairman most likely would be Sen. Tim Scott, who handily won his first full term.
The South Carolina lawmaker was appointed in December 2012 by Gov. Nikki Haley to complete then-Sen. Jim DeMint's term after he stepped down to head the Heritage Foundation. Tuesday, the people made him the first African-American senator elected in the South since Reconstruction. In a series of Twitter posts, Scott remarked on the historic nature of his election.
"In South Carolina, in America, it takes a generation to go from having a grandfather who is picking cotton, to a grandson in Congress," he wrote. "We are thankful for those trailblazers who came before us and said the status quo was not enough. I stand on the shoulders of giants. Our values and our issues are central. The most important things we have to offer are on the inside. This is the testament to progress made."
This year's midterm election cycle will go down in the books as historically horrific for Democrats, who lost control of the U.S. Senate and whose House caucus was weakened. It also marked a major milestone.
North Carolina state Rep. Alma Adams won a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Mel Watt, who now heads the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Her victory made her the 100th female member of Congress, the highest number in history.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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(Photos from left: North Carolina General Assembly, Courtesy U.S. Senate/Renee Bouchard, Mia Love United States Congress)