Elected to House in 2018, Most Democratic Women Are Hanging On

Four years ago, 36 new women, all but one of them Democrats, were elected as the largest freshman class of women the House had ever seen.

Buoyed by the Democratic wave of 2018, many of them defeated Republican incumbents in G.O.P.-leaning districts, which proved their ability to win tough races but also left them highly vulnerable to defeat in a less favorable year — like 2022 — for their party.

On Tuesday, a large majority of them held on anyway.

Twenty-seven of the original 35 Democratic women were on the ballot on Nov. 8, and of those, at least 22 — 81 percent — were re-elected, a number that may increase as more races are called in the coming days. (The one Republican, Carol Miller of West Virginia, was also re-elected.) The victors included at least eight of the 13 women whose races were expected to be the most competitive. Three more races were too close to call.

As of Thursday morning, only two had lost.

Ms. Craig, one of only two L.G.B.T.Q. women serving in the House, defeated Tyler Kistner in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District after reconfiguring her campaign around abortion rights in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

She zeroed in on Mr. Kistner’s description of himself in 2020 as “100 percent pro-life.” Ms. Craig had predicted that abortion could motivate the Democratic base and swing voters in Minnesota even if other issues, like inflation, pointed in Republicans’ direction.

Ms. Davids defeated Amanda Adkins in Kansas’ Third District by a margin of more than 11 percentage points with nearly all votes counted — a major feat in a district that is almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

When she won in 2018, Ms. Davids was one of the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress, along with Deb Haaland, who went on to become secretary of the interior. She is also the other one of the two L.G.B.T.Q. women in the current House — a number that will grow by at least one in January with the election last night of Becca Balint in Vermont.

Ms. Hayes, the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress, eked out a win in the state’s Fifth District by about 1,800 votes — a few tenths of a percentage point outside the margin for a recount — after a race that drew millions of dollars in outside spending.

Before being elected to Congress, Ms. Hayes taught history and was named the 2016 national teacher of the year. She has emphasized her life story in previous campaigns: She grew up in poverty, was homeless and became pregnant as a teenager.

Ms. Slotkin — a former C.I.A. analyst in Iraq and, two years ago, one of only seven House Democrats to win a district that voted for Donald J. Trump — defeated Tom Barrett in Michigan’s Seventh District.

Part of a small group of moderate House Democrats with national security credentials, Ms. Slotkin has been an outspoken proponent of centrist foreign policy goals. She was also one of five Democrats who proposed a midterm agenda that emphasized economic issues and rejected policies like Medicare for all and defunding the police.

Ms. Spanberger, another former C.I.A. officer and part of the same band of moderate Democrats as Ms. Slotkin, defeated Yesli Vega in Virginia’s Seventh District.

Her national security credentials set up a striking contest with Ms. Vega, a former police officer, in a race that focused heavily on crime. Ms. Spanberger’s background may have blunted the effects of attacks from Ms. Vega, who suggested that Ms. Spanberger’s professed support for law enforcement was fake and sought to tie her to the “defund the police” movement, even though Ms. Spanberger has forcefully opposed it.

Ms. Underwood made history in 2018 when, as a Black woman, she defeated a Republican incumbent in an overwhelmingly white district. She won again on Wednesday, defeating Scott Gryder in Illinois’s 14th District, with some help from a redistricting process that made the seat more Democratic.

Ms. Underwood, a registered nurse, was also part of a sizable cohort of Democrats who ran successfully in 2018 on their backgrounds in science, medicine or technology. Once in Congress, she co-founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus to focus on Black women’s disproportionate rates of maternal mortality.

Ms. Wexton, who ousted a Republican incumbent by double digits in 2018, defeated Hung Cao in Virginia’s 10th District on Tuesday by a smaller but still comfortable margin.

Ms. Wexton’s status as a former prosecutor may have given her an edge in combating what Republicans had expected to be a politically potent argument that Democrats were weak on crime.

Ms. Wild, a former lawyer and the first woman to serve as the solicitor of Allentown, Pa., won her race against Lisa Scheller in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District.

A moderate Democrat, Ms. Wild has often focused on economic issues, including support for business — a major issue in her district, which is reliant on industry. In an interview with The New York Times this year, she called herself “the biggest cheerleader there is for the industries in our district, including industries that sometimes come under attack from some quarters for reasons that aren’t necessarily legitimate.”

Ms. Axne defied Iowa’s increasingly Republican tilt in 2020, becoming the last Democrat standing in the state’s congressional delegation and one of only seven to win a Trump district. Before her election in 2018, she worked in strategic planning and leadership development — skills she said she applied to politics, treating her constituents like customers whom she needed to satisfy.

But between the broader environment and a redder seat after redistricting, she lost this year to Zach Nunn.

If candidates like Ms. Slotkin and Ms. Spanberger could draw politically on their backgrounds in national security, and candidates like Ms. Underwood could draw on their backgrounds in science, Ms. Luria was a rare candidate who could draw on both: She is a former Navy commander who operated nuclear reactors.

But, like Ms. Axne, she was hurt by redistricting, which removed some Democratic-leaning areas from her district — Virginia’s Second — and made it a much harder climb.

While her defeat is a loss for Democrats, it is not a loss for women’s representation: The Republican who defeated her, Jen Kiggans, is also a woman, a member of the soon-to-be class of 2022.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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