House Republicans beat expectations of a wipeout on Election Day thanks to a wave of conservative women running for the first time — and winning.
A historically high number of women will serve in the next Congress, with at least 140 from both parties elected so far, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
Republicans broke records with at least 17 new women joining their ranks this cycle, crushing the previous record of nine new congresswomen. At least 35 Republican women are expected to serve when the 117th Congress convenes in January. The highest previous total was 30.
Nearly every seat that Republicans flipped this cycle was won by women. There are still a handful in tight races that haven’t been called.
“I believe the Republican Party is much more diverse than what reflects on the floor, and this election proved it,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican. “When you look at the results and the outcome, it’s only in this room when we get a new record number of women, more diverse and only makes us stronger. It’s what makes America strong.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also applauded the growing ranks of Republican women.
“I’m excited that we have more women in Congress. That doesn’t mean we have shared values, but hopefully, we can find common ground on some [issues],” the California Democrat said.
These are some of the incoming Republican congresswomen who prevailed in the hardest-fought races:
Nicole Malliotakis, New York District 11
Nicole Malliotakis is one of the most recent Republican victors. Democratic Rep. Max Rose conceded the New York race on Thursday. Mr. Rose won his seat in 2018 by flipping a Republican-held seat as part of the blue wave that gave Democrats the House majority.
Ms. Malliotakis was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2010 and is the daughter of immigrants. Her father came from Greece and her mother came from Cuba.
One of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents going into Election Day, Mr. Rose trailed Ms. Malliotakis 136,382 votes to his 99,224 votes when he acknowledged defeat.
Beth Van Duyne, Texas District 24
Beth Van Duyne, the former mayor of Irving, Texas, held down a vulnerable Republican district, fending off a challenge from Democrat Candace Valenzuela. She will replace retiring Rep. Kenny Marchant in the longtime GOP seat.
Ms. Valenzuela conceded the race on Tuesday trailing by just under 5,000 votes. Democrats had high hopes of flipping the Texas district, one of three top targets left vulnerable by retiring Republicans.
After stepping down as mayor in 2017, Ms. Van Duyne took a position in the Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development as a regional administrator.
Victoria Spartz, Indiana District 5
Also defending a GOP stronghold, Victoria Spartz, a state senator, held the line for Republicans in the suburban Indiana district, succeeding Rep. Susan Brooks.
As an immigrant born in Soviet Ukraine, Ms. Spartz made the GOP’s message against socialism personal on the campaign trail.
She won with 208,085 votes, about 7,000 more than her challenger, Democrat Christina Hale, according to the latest tally by The Associated Press. The district was one of the most-watched races and was viewed as a test of Democrats’ ability to encroach on typically red districts.
Michelle Steel, California District 48
Michelle Steel, a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, toppled Harley Rouda to win back a seat that Democrats flipped in 2018.
Ms. Steel, a Korean immigrant, is one of the first Korean American women elected to Congress. She said her win demonstrated the diversity within the GOP.
“My accent is part of my story, and I’m proud to be one of the first Korean-American women in Congress. It’s time to make sure the American Dream is still achievable for all Americans,” she tweeted on Friday.
Mr. Rouda conceded with a speech urging the de-escalation of partisan tensions. Ms. Steel won by more than 7,000 votes with 199,760 votes to Mr. Rouda’s 192,012 votes.
Stephanie Bice, Oklahoma District 5
Stephanie Bice took down Democrat Rep. Kendra Horn and took back a GOP stronghold that consistently voted red for decades before the 2018 wave election.
Ms. Bice is coming to Congress with years of experience in her state’s legislature, where she is currently a state senator. She’s also the first Iranian American elected to Congress.
The margin was wide for a competitive race, with Ms. Bice winning 158,044 votes, or 52.1%, to Ms. Horn’s 47.9%, according to The Associated Press.
Yvette Herrell, New Mexico District 2
Yvette Herrell, a staunch ally of President Trump, toppled another top target for House Republicans by defeating Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.
Ms. Herrell, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, is the first Republican Indian American woman to be elected to Congress.
In a rematch from their 2018 race, Ms. Herrell came out with a dominant lead of about 20,000 votes out of more than 260,000 votes cast.
Michelle Fischbach, Minnesota District 7
In another sizable win for Republicans, Michelle Fischbach defeated vulnerable but long-serving Democrat Collin Peterson, who has spent 30 years in Congress but now represents staunchly Trump territory.
Ms. Fischbach won with 53.4% of the vote.
She comes to Congress with 22 years of experience as a state senator and a brief stint as lieutenant governor in 2018.
Maria Elvira Salazar, Florida District 27
Maria Elvira Salazar was one of the earliest victories for House Republicans on election night, defeating Democrat Rep. Donna Shalala in a rematch of the 2018 race.
Ms. Salazar, a former TV journalist, worked for Telemundo, CNN Espaol and Univision.
The race was expected to be competitive, but pollsters scored it as leaning Democratic going into Election Day.
Ms. Salazar’s win — 175,984 votes to 166,568 votes — was a boon for the GOP. She toppled yet another incumbent who flipped a red seat in 2018.
Ashley Hinson, Iowa District 1
Ashley Hinson flipped yet another seat Democrats won in 2018 by defeating Rep. Abby Finkenauer.
Ms. Hinson has been serving in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2017 and worked as a local news reporter before that.
She took down the first-term Democrat by nearly 11,000 out of more than 412,000 votes cast.
Nancy Mace, South Carolina District 1
Nancy Mace, a state representative, defied pollsters by defeating Rep. Joe Cunningham, another freshman Democrat who flipped a longtime GOP-held seat in 2018.
Mr. Trump won the district by more than 10 points in 2016 but going into Election Day Mr. Cunningham appeared to have a strong lead in the polls. Ms. Mace won by a thin margin, with a total of 215,811 votes to Mr. Cunningham’s 210,443 votes.
Ms. Mace, the first woman to graduate The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets, also contributed to history in her state as only the second woman elected to a full term in Congress from South Carolina.
“This has been 42 years in the making. To see how far I’ve come. From dropping out of school at the age of 17, to my first job as a waitress at the Waffle House, to becoming the first woman graduate from The Citadel,” she said in a video before freshman orientation on Capitol Hill. “I’m ready to get to work.”
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